Preconception and Prenatal Environmental Factors Associated with Communication Impairments in 9 Year Old Children Using an Exposome-Wide Approach


<div><p>Although speech and language deficits are common in children and strongly associated with poor educational and social outcomes, little attention has been paid to the antecedents. In this study we used the information from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children to examine preconception and prenatal environmental risk factors that were related to communication difficulties in children using the Children’s Communication Checklist (CCC). We used an exposome-wide approach to identify environmental factors univariably associated with the CCC. Taking account of the False Discovery rate, we used a P value of 0.000157 to identify 621 of 3855 items tested. These were then subjected to a series of stepwise linear regression analyses, firstly within 10 domains: personal characteristics, health, development, education, socio-economic variables, lifestyle, home and social environments, life events and chemical and other exposures; and then with the predictive variables from each domain. The final model consisted of 19 variables independently associated with the communication scale. These variables suggested 6 possible mechanisms: stressors primarily associated with socio-economic disadvantage although other lifestyle choices such as a social network of family or friends can ameliorate these effects; indicators of future parenting skills primarily associated with aspects of parental personality; aspects of the home environment; poor maternal health with a novel finding concerning maternal hearing loss; and maternal education which was partially mediated by the child’s IQ. Finally, there may be a mechanism via the maternal diet in pregnancy in particular the consumption of fatty or processed foods. This is the subject of ongoing investigation.</p></div

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oaioai:figshare.com:article/1325374Last time updated on 2/12/2018

This paper was published in FigShare.

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