Poverty from fetal life onward and child brain morphology

Yuna Koyama, Andrea P.Cortes Hidalgo, Rebecca E. Lacey, Tonya White, Pauline W. Jansen, Takeo Fujiwara, Henning Tiemeier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Poverty is a risk factor for impaired child development, an association possibly mediated by brain morphology. Previous studies lacked prospective poverty assessments during pregnancy and did not stratify by majority/minority status. We investigated the association of household poverty from fetal life forward with brain morphological differences at age 10 years, in 2166 mother–child dyads. Overall, the results showed no associations between any poverty exposure early in life and brain volumes. However, there was the evidence of timing effects: children exposed to poverty in utero had smaller amygdala volumes (B = − 0.18, 95%CI − 0.30; − 0.07, pFDR-adjusted = 0.009). There were also differences in associations by majority/minority status (cerebral white matter: p for interaction = 0.04). Dutch children exposed to childhood poverty showed smaller cerebral white matter volumes than their control (B = − 0.26, 95%CI − 0.45; − 0.06, pFDR-adjusted = 0.035). This association was not observed in the minority population (B = − 0.05, 95%CI − 0.23; 0.12, pFDR-adjusted = 0.542). The smaller cerebral white matter volume mediated the association between childhood poverty and poorer school performance in Dutch children. Our findings point to the importance of poverty exposure in the fetal period and suggest different mechanisms and vulnerabilities across majority/minority groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1295
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Generation R Study is conducted by the Erasmus Medical Center in close collaboration with Faculty of Social Sciences of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area, Rotterdam, and the Stichting Trombosedienst & Artsenlaboratorium Rijnmond (STAR-MDC), Rotterdam. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of children and parents, general practitioners, hospitals, midwives and pharmacies in Rotterdam. The general design of Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

Funding Information:
Andrea P. Cortes Hidalgo was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (Spinoza Priza to Marinus H. van IJzendoorn). Rebecca E. Lacey was supported by Economic and Social Research Council (PI: Rebecca E. Lacey), Grant No.: ES/P010229/1. Neuroimaging was supported in part by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) TOP project number 91211021 to Tonya White. Supercomputing computations were supported by the NWO Physical Sciences Division (Exacte Wetenschappen) and SURFsara. Henning Tiemeier was supported by a NWO-VICI grant (NWO-ZonMW: 016.VICI.170.200).

Funding Information:
The Generation R Study is conducted by the Erasmus Medical Center in close collaboration with Faculty of Social Sciences of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area, Rotterdam, and the Stichting Trombosedienst & Artsenlaboratorium Rijnmond (STAR-MDC), Rotterdam. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of children and parents, general practitioners, hospitals, midwives and pharmacies in Rotterdam. The general design of Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

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