Pregnancy diabetes doubles the risk of language delay in children

Nov 06, 2008

Children born to mothers with pregnancy-related diabetes run twice the risk of language development problems, according to a research team directed by Professor Ginette Dionne of Université Laval's School of Psychology. Details of this discovery are published in the most recent issue of the scientific journal Pediatrics.

Researchers compared the vocabulary and grammar skills of 221 children whose mothers were diagnosed with gestational diabetes to those of 2,612 children from a control group. These tests were conducted at different intervals between ages 18 months and 7 years.

Results showed that children born to mothers with gestational diabetes achieve poorer scores on tests of spoken vocabulary and grammar than children of healthy mothers. The differences between the two groups are probably due to the effects of gestational diabetes on the brain development of babies. The study shows that these effects persist even after the children start school.

This study is the first to isolate the effect of gestational diabetes from other factors including family socioeconomic status, alcohol and tobacco consumption as well as maternal hypertension during pregnancy.

However, the study suggests that the impact of pregnancy-related diabetes on language development is not inevitable, as children of more educated mothers appear less affected. "This protection may be the result of the more stimulating environment in which children of more highly educated mothers develop, but it could also be due to genes that could make some babies less vulnerable," explains Ginette Dionne. "For the moment, we cannot isolate the two factors, but ongoing studies should allow us to answer that question," she continued.

Between 2% and 14% of children are born to mothers who suffer from gestational diabetes. Risk factors for this complication during pregnancy include the mother's age and her body mass index. "As mothers are having their children at a later age and the incidence of obesity in the population is on the rise, the rate of gestational diabetes is clearly increasing," underlined Professor Dionne. "The risk to babies' language development needs to be taken into account," she concludes.

Source: Université Laval

Explore further: DR Congo Ebola outbreak has killed 42 since August: govt

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Eradicating dangerous bacteria may cause permanent harm

Aug 24, 2011

In the zeal to eliminate dangerous bacteria, it is possible that we are also permanently killing off beneficial bacteria as well, posits Martin Blaser, MD, Frederick H. King Professor of Medicine, professor of Microbiology ...

Diabetes becomes a disease of the young

Jun 27, 2011

Some people say aiming to look sleek in your swimsuit or wedding duds is the biggest motivator for losing weight. But Mike Durbin's incentive for dropping pounds beats all.

Seniors' sex lives are up -- and so are STD cases

May 17, 2011

Across the nation, and especially in communities that attract a lot of older Americans, the free-love generation is continuing to enjoy an active - if not always healthy - sex life.

Recommended for you

Africa's uneven health care becomes easy prey for Ebola

8 hours ago

Threatened by the possible spread of an Ebola epidemic which respects no borders, Africa is divided between a handful of countries equipped to withstand an outbreak and many more which would be devastated, experts say.

Ebola case stokes concerns for Liberians in Texas

9 hours ago

The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. has been confirmed in a man who recently traveled from Liberia to Dallas, sending chills through the area's West African community whose leaders urged caution ...

Is Australia prepared for Ebola?

12 hours ago

Australia needs to be proactive about potential disease outbreaks like Ebola and establish a national centre for disease control.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

tkjtkj
not rated yet Nov 06, 2008
Without knowing how the clinical
groups were comparable one can
draw no conclusions at all.
Was gestational diabetes equally
well-controlled? Were the groups
of similar socio-economic status?
were they of comparable education
level? .. and on and on...
This seems to be an interesting
study but we must review the
data before conclusions are made.