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Birthweight predicts IQ: fact or artefact?

Publication ,  Journal Article
Newcombe, R; Milne, BJ; Caspi, A; Poulton, R; Moffitt, TE
Published in: Twin research and human genetics : the official journal of the International Society for Twin Studies
August 2007

It has been shown that lower birthweight is associated with lower IQ, but it remains unclear whether this association is causal or spurious. We examined the relationship between birthweight and IQ in two prospective longitudinal birth cohorts: a UK cohort of 1116 twin pairs (563 monozygotic [MZ] pairs), born in 1994-95, and a New Zealand cohort of 1037 singletons born in 1972-73. IQ was tested with the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children. Birthweight differences within MZ twin pairs predicted IQ differences within pairs, ruling out genetic and shared environmental explanations for the association. Birthweight predicted IQ similarly in the twin and nontwin cohorts after controlling for social disadvantage, attesting that the association generalized beyond twins. An increase of 1000 g in birthweight was associated with a 3 IQ point increase. Results from two cohorts add to evidence that low birthweight is a risk factor for compromised neurological health. Our finding that birthweight differences predict IQ differences within MZ twin pairs provides new evidence that the mechanism can be narrowed to an environmental effect during pregnancy, rather than any familial environmental influence shared by siblings, or genes. With the increasing numbers of low-birthweight infants, our results support the contention that birthweight could be a target for early preventive intervention to reduce the number of children with compromised IQ.

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Published In

Twin research and human genetics : the official journal of the International Society for Twin Studies

DOI

ISSN

1832-4274

Publication Date

August 2007

Volume

10

Issue

4

Start / End Page

581 / 586

Related Subject Headings

  • Wechsler Scales
  • United Kingdom
  • Twins, Monozygotic
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • New Zealand
  • Male
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intelligence
  • Humans
 

Citation

APA
Chicago
ICMJE
MLA
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Newcombe, R., Milne, B. J., Caspi, A., Poulton, R., & Moffitt, T. E. (2007). Birthweight predicts IQ: fact or artefact? Twin Research and Human Genetics : The Official Journal of the International Society for Twin Studies, 10(4), 581–586. https://doi.org/10.1375/twin.10.4.581
Newcombe, Rhiannon, Barry J. Milne, Avshalom Caspi, Richie Poulton, and Terrie E. Moffitt. “Birthweight predicts IQ: fact or artefact?Twin Research and Human Genetics : The Official Journal of the International Society for Twin Studies 10, no. 4 (August 2007): 581–86. https://doi.org/10.1375/twin.10.4.581.
Newcombe R, Milne BJ, Caspi A, Poulton R, Moffitt TE. Birthweight predicts IQ: fact or artefact? Twin research and human genetics : the official journal of the International Society for Twin Studies. 2007 Aug;10(4):581–6.
Newcombe, Rhiannon, et al. “Birthweight predicts IQ: fact or artefact?Twin Research and Human Genetics : The Official Journal of the International Society for Twin Studies, vol. 10, no. 4, Aug. 2007, pp. 581–86. Epmc, doi:10.1375/twin.10.4.581.
Newcombe R, Milne BJ, Caspi A, Poulton R, Moffitt TE. Birthweight predicts IQ: fact or artefact? Twin research and human genetics : the official journal of the International Society for Twin Studies. 2007 Aug;10(4):581–586.
Journal cover image

Published In

Twin research and human genetics : the official journal of the International Society for Twin Studies

DOI

ISSN

1832-4274

Publication Date

August 2007

Volume

10

Issue

4

Start / End Page

581 / 586

Related Subject Headings

  • Wechsler Scales
  • United Kingdom
  • Twins, Monozygotic
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • New Zealand
  • Male
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intelligence
  • Humans