13 June 2019 from 10:30 to 11:30

PhD Defence: Do maternal habits echo into YOUth? Using 3D-ultrasound to show the intermediating role of the fetal brain

The main aim of this thesis was to evaluate the influence of maternal life style habits during pregnancy on the neurodevelopment of the child. In the first part, we developed a tool to measure frontal lobe volume and tested the reproducibility of intracranial, cerebellar and frontal lobe volume measurement in 3D-ultrasound images. The methods for these measurements were shown to provide a reliable tool for the assessment of fetal brain development. In the second part, the impact of prenatal exposure to caffeine, smoking and alcohol on fetal brain development and on childhood cognition and behavior was investigated. A review of the literature showed an association between prenatal exposure to high amounts of caffeine and lower brain weight at birth in rats and an association between maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy and lower IQ or more behavioral problems at childhood age in human studies. Following this review, the impact of prenatal exposure to caffeine on intracranial, cerebellar and frontal lobe volume at around 20 and 30 weeks of gestation was investigated in a small exploratory study. A nonsignificant trend suggesting that intrauterine caffeine exposure might reduce brain structure volumes was found. The impact of maternal smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy on behavioral outcomes was evaluated in a meta-analysis, which showed that maternal smoking during pregnancy increased the risk of hyperactive behavior and possibly emotional and conduct problems. The effect of prenatal exposure to low to moderate amounts of alcohol on childhood behavior remains unclear.

Start date and time
13 June 2019 10:30
End date and time
13 June 2019 11:30
PhD candidate
Marieke Albers
Dissertation
Do maternal habits echo into YOUth? Using 3D-ultrasound to show the intermediating role of the fetal brain
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. A. Franx Prof. R.S. Kahn
Co-supervisor(s)
Prof. R. de HeusProf. N.C. Onland-Moret
Entrance fee
Free