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Nut Intake in First Trimester May Benefit Child Neurodevelopment

Children of mothers with the highest level of nut intake have better scores on cognitive tests

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THURSDAY, May 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Nut intake during the first trimester of pregnancy is associated with long-term child neuropsychological development, according to a study published online May 7 in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Florence Gignac, from the ISGlobal-Instituto de Salud Global de Barcelona in Spain, and colleagues examined the association between maternal nut intake in pregnancy and child neuropsychological outcomes. A total of 2,208 mother-child pairs were included from a population-based birth cohort from Spain. A validated food frequency questionnaire was used to assess nut intake in pregnancy during the first and third trimesters.

The researchers found that compared with children within the first tertile, children in the highest tertile of maternal nut consumption during the first pregnancy trimester had a decrease of 13.82 ms in the Attention Network Test (ANT, 8 year) hit reaction time standard error. For other cognitive scores at other ages, there was a similar protective association pattern. The ANT hit reaction time standard error remained significant after correction for multiple testing. The results were not changed in final model estimates by inverse probability weighting. Weaker associations were seen for third-trimester nut intake.

"Further studies, such as randomized controlled trials, are necessary to disentangle the link between maternal nut consumption on the developing brain and the benefits on neuropsychological functioning in childhood," the authors write.

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