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15 September 2010

Brains age faster in Dutch famine babies

Older adults who were developing in the wombs of their mothers during the 1944 Dutch famine appear to have accelerated brain ageing, says a new study.

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Older adults who were developing in the wombs of their mothers during the 1944 Dutch famine appear to have accelerated brain ageing, says a new study. 

A severe food shortage occurred in the northern Netherlands when occupying German forces restricted food deliveries, leading to the deaths of an estimated 20,000 people. Many expectant mothers consumed only 1,682kJ to 3,360kJ per day, BBC News reported. 

This study included nearly 300 adults whose mothers were in the first or second trimester of pregnancy during the famine. When the participants were given mental skills tests in the 1970s, their results were the same as similarly aged people. 

But the latest examination showed that the famine group did worse than others in their age group when given a selective attention test that measures how well the brain deals with competing distractions, BBC News reported.

The study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 
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