Consortium on Individual Development


13 June 2019
10:30 - 11:30
Academiegebouw, Universiteit Utrecht

PhD defence Marieke Albers

Do maternal habits echo into Youth? Using 3D-ultrasound to show the intermediating role of the fetal brain.

Thursday 13 June 2019 Marieke Albers (WP1) defends her PhD dissertation.

Marieke evaluated the influence of maternal life style habits during pregnancy on the neurodevelopment of the child.
First, she developed and tested the reproducibility of a tool to measure frontal lobe volume in 3D-ultrasound images. Once it was established that the tool reliably assessed fetal brain development, she examined the impact of several prenatal exposures (caffeine, smoking and alcohol) on fetal brain development and childhood cognition and behaviour.
Caffeine was chosen based on a literature review indicating prenatal exposure to high amounts of caffeine could affect brain development and behavioural outcomes. In a small exploratory study by Marieke a nonsignificant trend suggested the intrauterine caffeine exposure might reduce brain structure volumes.
To evaluate the impact of maternal smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy on behavioural outcomes Marieke performed a meta-analysis. She showed that maternal smoking during pregnancy increased the risk of hyperactive behaviour and possibly emotional and conduct problems. However, the effect of prenatal exposure to low to moderate amounts of alcohol on childhood behaviour remains unclear.


Promotores: Prof. dr. A. Franx en Prof. dr. R.S. Kahn

Copromotores: Dr. R. de Heus en Dr. N.C. Onland-Moret

List of CID PhD dissertations: