Associations between maternal thyroid function in pregnancy and child neurodevelopmental outcomes at 20 months in the Seychelles Child Development Study, Nutrition Cohort 2 (SCDS NC2)

Anna Monaghan, Maria S Mulhern, Emeir M. McSorley, JJ Strain, Theresa Winter, van Wijngaarden Edwin, Gary Myers, Phil Davidson, Conrad Shamlaye, Jude Gedeon, Alison J. Yeates

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Abstract

Maternal thyroid hormones facilitate optimal foetal neurodevelopment; however, the exact role of the thyroid hormones on specific cognitive outcomes is unknown. This study aimed to investigate associations between maternal thyroid function and neurodevelopmental outcomes in the Seychelles Child Development Study (SCDS) Nutrition 2 cohort (n=1328). Maternal free thyroid hormones (fT3, fT4 and fTSH) were assessed at 28 weeks’ gestation with a range of child cognitive outcomes analysed at 20 months. Dietary iodine intake was analysed for a subset of women through a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). Linear regression analysis was used to test associations between serum concentrations of maternal thyroid hormones and child neurodevelopment outcomes. Thyroid hormones were analysed as continuous data and categorised as quintiles. 95% of mothers had optimal thyroid function based on fTSH concentrations. Overall, this study shows that maternal thyroid function is not associated with neurodevelopmental outcomes in this high fish-eating population. However, a positive association, using quintiles for fT3, was reported for MDI (Motor Development Index), between Q3 vs Q4 (β 0.073; p 0.043) and for Q3 vs Q5 (β value 0.086; p 0.018). To conclude, mothers in our cohort, who largely have optimal thyroid function and iodine intakes, appear able to regulate thyroid function throughout pregnancy to meet neurodevelopmental needs. However, it is possible that minor imbalances of fT3, as indicated from our secondary analysis, may impact offspring neurodevelopment. Further investigation of the relationship between maternal thyroid function and infant neurodevelopment is warranted, particularly in populations with different dietary patterns and thereby iodine intakes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere71
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutritional Science
Volume10
Early online date31 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • thyroid function
  • cognitive development
  • iodine

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