According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. If these individuals happen to be pregnant women, their unborn children's cognitive abilities may be at risk, based on new research from Finland's University of Helsinki.
The study, which appears in the American Academy of Neurology's medical journal, "Neurology," analyzed the changes 398 men's thinking skills went through over the course of adulthood. These individuals' math reasoning abilities, language skills and grasp on visual and spatial relationships were all tested.
What the researchers found was that men whose mothers had high blood pressure during pregnancy received test scores that were 4.36 points below those of men whose mothers did not have high blood pressure.
"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," said Katri Räikönen, the study's author.
If men know their mother had high blood pressure when they were born, they may want to sit for an IQ test and see if the condition has had any impact on their thinking skills.