Early life factors and hippocampal functional connectivity in children with overweight/obesity

Patricio Solis-Urra*, Irene Esteban-Cornejo, Jose Mora-Gonzalez, Chelsea Stillman, Oren Contreras-Rodriguez, Kirk I. Erickson, Andrés Catena, Francisco B. Ortega*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: We investigated the association of anthropometric neonatal data (birth length and birth weight) and breastfeeding practices (exclusive and any breastfeeding) with hippocampal functional connectivity and its academic implication in children with overweight/obesity. Methods: Ninety six children with overweight/obesity aged 8–11 years (10.01 ± 1.14), from the ActiveBrains project were included in this cross-sectional study. Anthropometric neonatal data were collected from birth records, whereas breastfeeding practices were reported by parents. A 3.0 Tesla Siemens Magnetom Tim Trio system was used to acquire T1-weighted and resting-state functional magnetic resonance images. Academic performance was assessed by the Woodcock-Muñoz standardized test. Hippocampal seed-based methods with post-hoc regression analyses were performed. Analyses were considered significant when surpassing Family-Wise Error corrections. Results: Birth weight showed a positive association with the connectivity between the hippocampus and the pre- and postcentral gyri, and the cerebellum. In addition, breastfeeding was negatively associated with the connectivity between the hippocampus and the primary motor cortex and the angular gyrus. Any breastfeeding, in turn, showed a positive association with the connectivity between the hippocampus and the middle temporal gyrus. None of the connectivity outcomes related to early life factors was coupled with better academic abilities (all p > 0.05). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that birth weight at birth and breastfeeding are associated with hippocampal connectivity in children with overweight/obesity. Despite this, how the results relate to academic performance remains a matter of speculation. Our findings suggest that clinicians should recognize the importance early life factors for potentially avoiding consequences on offspring's brain development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12998
JournalPediatric obesity
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • birth weight
  • brain
  • breastfeeding
  • cognition
  • hippocampus
  • obesity

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