Summary: Lower levels of vitamin D in-utero were associated with delays in fine motor skill development at age five. Exposure to thyroid hormones in-utero was associated with cognitive development during childhood.
Source: Marshall University
Prenatal exposure to altered levels of vitamin D and/or thyroid hormones has the potential to impact child development long after birth, according to a new study by researchers at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.
A retrospective study analyzed the presence of 20 different elements, thyroid hormones and vitamin D levels in umbilical cord blood collected at birth. The levels were compared with how well a child met developmental milestones as part of their well child examinations conducted between birth to age 5.
The findings, published last month in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, an open access, peer-reviewed medical journal focused on clinical and basic medicine and pharmacology, showed that vitamin D levels were associated with a delay in fine motor development and thyroid hormone levels were associated with cognitive development. Certain metals such as lead, mercury, copper and manganese were associated with language, cognitive or motor skill development.
“Our study demonstrates the importance of the in-utero environment,” said Jesse Cottrell, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and lead author on the study.
“The study found multiple associations between umbilical cord essential and toxic elements, thyroid levels and Vitamin D on childhood development for a pronounced time after birth.”
“Very little existing research addresses the long-term effects on child development of in utero exposure to environmental agents,” said Monica Valentovic, Ph.D., professor of biomedical sciences and toxicology research cluster coordinator at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and corresponding author on the study.
“With the original umbilical cord blood samples collected in 2013, having long-term follow-up on developmental outcomes adds significantly to the literature.”
Chelsea Nelson, M.D., Catherine Waldron, Mackenzie Bergeron and Abigail Samson also served as co-authors on the abstract. The work is supported by the Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health at Marshall University, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the translational research pilot grant program at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and a National Institutes of Health grant (P20GM103434).
The team continues to investigate development of children beyond age 5 as well as in utero exposure to environmental metals and the impact on development of the newborn or health effects related to vitamin D levels.
About this neurodevelopment research news
Author: Sheanna Spence
Source: Marshall University
Contact: Sheanna Spence – Marshall University
Image: The image is in the public domain
Original Research: Open access.
“Effect of umbilical cord essential and toxic elements, thyroid levels, and Vitamin D on childhood development” by Jesse Cottrell. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy
Effect of umbilical cord essential and toxic elements, thyroid levels, and Vitamin D on childhood development
The in-utero environment has dramatic effects on childhood development. We hypothesized prenatal levels of inorganic agents, thyroid levels, and Vitamin D effect childhood development.
Umbilical cord blood was collected from April 3, 2013 to January 30, 2014 and analyzed for 20 different elements, thyroid and Vitamin D. A retrospective review (n = 60) was performed of well-child examinations from birth to 5 years old (y.o.).
There were associations with calcium and 4 month BMI (p = <0.01), 12 month language (p = 0.03); Magnesium and 6 month language (p = 0.04) and gross motor skills at 5 years old (y.o.) (p = 0.03); Copper and 12 month fine motor (p = 0.02); Zinc with fine motor (p = <0.01) and language (p = 0.03) at 2 y.o.; Manganese was associated with language development at 2 y.o. (p = 0.02); Molybdenum and fine motor at 12 months of age (p = 0.02); Selenium with gross motor (p = 0.04) and BMI (p = 0.02) at 5 y.o.; Lead with cognitive function at 4 months (p = 0.04) and 2 y.o. (p = 0.01); Mercury with gross motor at 4 months (p = 0.04) and language at 2 y.o. (p = 0.02). Platinum at 12 months of age (p = <.01) as well as multiple associations at 5 y.o. (p = <.01). Thyroid function tests for free T3 were associated with multiple cognitive and physical milestones. T3 Uptake was associated with 5 y.o. gross motor skills (p = 0.02). Total and Free T4 was associated with cognitive development (p = <.01) and fine motor development, respectively. Vitamin D was associated with a delay of fine motor development (p<0.01).
There were multiple associations between umbilical cord essential and toxic elements, thyroid levels, and Vitamin D on childhood development.