The participating men took the Finnish Defense Force test to determine their cognitive skills. Having a mom with hypertension during pregnancy lowered their score by just over 4 points on average. The men's mathematical thinking skills were especially affected, interestingly enough. The study team looked to exclude other possible reasons for this gap too premature birth and their father being a manual or office worker appeared to make no difference. The study's lead author Katri Raikonen from the University of Helsinki in Finland pointed out: "High blood pressure and related conditions, such as preeclampsia, complicate about 10 percent of all pregnancies and can affect a baby's environment in the womb.
Our study suggests that even declines in thinking abilities in old age could have originated during the prenatal period when the majority of the development of brain structure and function occurs." This fascinating new report is not the first scientific research to be conducted into high blood pressure during pregnancy, and adverse effects on the baby later in life. Previous research had already indicated a link between maternal high blood pressure and stroke or heart disease later in life. This study is unique in how long it followed the study subjects, and in showing how high blood pressure during pregnancy can leave its mark on the baby's intelligence.