The objective of this study was to investigate stability of cognitive development during the first five years of life in relation to heavy metal concentrations in umbilical cord blood in Korean children. This research is part of the Mothers' and Children's Environmental Health (MOCEH) study, a multi-center prospective birth cohort study of pregnant women in Korea who were recruited from 2006 to 2010. We analyzed the complete follow-up data of children who were 5 years-old in 2016. We measured lead, mercury, and cadmium levels in the umbilical cord blood of 251 children, and analyzed them, for whom neurodevelopmental data were available. We determined stability of cognitive development scores using three methods. First, we used partial correlation analyses to examine the stability of cognitive development at each measurement time. Second, we used Cramer's V to investigate the magnitude and direction of changes in cognitive development scores at each follow-up period among three groups (high, medium, and low scores). The results showed that cognitive development scores measured at the closest times had the strongest correlations, and the stability of cognitive development scores increased with age, from 6 to 60 months. Groups at the extreme ends of cognitive development (high or low scores) had more stable scores, and this tendency was also stronger in infants > 24 months-old. The stability of cognitive development was unrelated to the umbilical cord level of heavy metals, based on analysis with Fisher's transformation. In conclusion, the present study showed that the cognitive development scores in a cohort of infants (6 to 60 months-old) were stable.
- Cord blood