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Environ Int. 2018 Nov;120:155-162. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.07.043. Epub 2018 Aug 7.

Maternal cell phone use during pregnancy and child cognition at age 5 years in 3 birth cohorts.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, 650 Charles E Young Dr S, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Danish Epidemiology Science Centre, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark; College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Western University of Health Sciences, 309 E. Second St, Pomona, CA 91766, USA. Electronic address: msudan@ucla.edu.
2
ISGlobal Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain; Pompeu Fabra University, Carrer Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27, 08005 Barcelona, Spain; Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Av. Monforte de Lemos, 3-5, Madrid, Spain.
3
Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Av. Monforte de Lemos, 3-5, Madrid, Spain; BIODONOSTIA Health Research Institute, Dr. Begiristain Pasealekua, San Sebastian 20014, Spain; University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Preventative Medicine and Public Health Department, Faculty of Medicine, Leioa 48940, Spain; Public Health Division of Gipuzkoa, Basque Government, 4 Av. de Navarra, San Sebastian 20013, Spain.
4
Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Av. Monforte de Lemos, 3-5, Madrid, Spain; Epidemiology and Environmental Health Joint Research Unit, FISABIO-Universitat Jaume I, Universitat de València, Avinguda Catalunya, 21, 46020 València, Spain.
5
BIODONOSTIA Health Research Institute, Dr. Begiristain Pasealekua, San Sebastian 20014, Spain.
6
ISGlobal Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain; Pompeu Fabra University, Carrer Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27, 08005 Barcelona, Spain; Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Av. Monforte de Lemos, 3-5, Madrid, Spain; Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus University Medical Centre-Sophia Children's Hospital, Wytemaweg 80, 3015, CN, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
7
Department of Preventive Medicine, Dankook University, College of Medicine, 119 Dandae-ro, Dongnam-gu, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.
8
Danish Epidemiology Science Centre, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark.
9
Epidemiology and Environmental Health Joint Research Unit, FISABIO-Universitat Jaume I, Universitat de València, Avinguda Catalunya, 21, 46020 València, Spain; Predepartamental unit of Medicine, Universitat Jaume I, Avinguda Sos Baynat s/n, 12071 Castelló de la Plana, Spain.
10
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, 650 Charles E Young Dr S, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There have been few studies of children's cognitive development in relation to mothers' cell phone use, and most were limited to outcomes at age 3 years or younger. We examined the relationship between maternal cell phone use during pregnancy and cognitive performance in 5-year old children.

METHODS:

This study included data from 3 birth cohorts: the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) (n = 1209), Spanish Environment and Childhood Project (INMA) (n = 1383), and Korean Mothers and Children's Environment Health Study (MOCEH) (n = 497). All cohorts collected information about maternal cell phone use during pregnancy and cognitive performance in children at age 5. We performed linear regression to compute mean differences (MD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) in children's general, verbal, and non-verbal cognition scores comparing frequency of maternal prenatal cell phone use with adjustments for numerous potential confounding factors. Models were computed separately for each cohort and using pooled data in meta-analysis.

RESULTS:

No associations were detected between frequency of prenatal cell phone use and children's cognition scores. Scores tended to be lower in the highest frequency of use category; MD (95% CI) in general cognition scores were 0.78 (-0.76, 2.33) for none, 0.11 (-0.81, 1.03) for medium, and -0.41 (-1.54, 0.73) for high compared to low frequency of use. This pattern was seen across all cognitive dimensions, but the results were imprecise overall.

CONCLUSION:

We observed patterns of lower mean cognition scores among children in relation to high frequency maternal prenatal cell phone use. The causal nature and mechanism of this relationship remain unknown.

KEYWORDS:

Cell phones; Children; Cognition; Intelligence; Meta-analysis; Pooled analysis

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