Birth weight is associated with brain tissue volumes seven decades later, but not with age-associated changes to brain structure
Emily N W Wheater,
Susana Munoz Maniega,
Maria del C Valdés-Hernández,
Joanna M Wardlaw,
Ian J Deary,
Mark E Bastin,
James P. Boardman,
Simon R Cox
Posted 28 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.27.270033
Posted 28 Aug 2020
Birth weight, an indicator of fetal growth, is associated with cognitive outcomes in early life and risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease across the life course. Cognitive ability in early life is predictive of cognitive ability in later life. Brain health in older age, defined by MRI features, is associated with cognitive performance. However, little is known about how variation in normal birth weight impacts on brain structure in later life. In a community dwelling cohort of participants in their early seventies we tested the hypothesis that birthweight is associated with the following MRI features: total brain (TB), grey matter (GM) and normal appearing white matter (NAWM) volumes; whiter matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume; a general factor of fractional anisotropy (gFA) and peak width skeletonised mean diffusivity (PSMD) across the white matter skeleton. We also investigated the associations of birthweight with cortical surface area, volume and thickness. Birthweight was positively associated with TB, GM and NAWM volumes in later life (β ≥ 0.194), and with regional cortical surface area but not gFA, PSMD, WMH volume, or cortical volume or thickness. These positive relationships appear to be explained by larger intracranial volume rather than by age-related tissue atrophy, and are independent of body height and weight in adulthood. This suggests that larger birthweight is linked to increased brain tissue reserve in older life, rather than a resilience to age-related changes in brain structure, such as tissue atrophy or WMH volume. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
- Downloaded 131 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 135,714
- In neuroscience: 20,486
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 104,426
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 122,305
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!