Presentation Title

The role of maternal acculturation and cortisol on a marker of early brain development in infants of Mexican descent

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 355

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

Infant heart rate variability is a marker of early brain development and central nervous system activity. During pregnancy, Mexican-American pregnant women experience high levels of psychosocial stressors. These stressors include discrimination and acculturation stressors, which have been associated with increased maternal cortisol levels. However it is unknown if fetal exposure to sociocultural stressors is associated with early brain development in Mexican-Americans and if maternal cortisol is associated with this. Thus, this study hypothesized that infants born to women exposed to sociocultural stressors during pregnancy who show adverse patterns of early brain development, as indicated by decreases in heart rate variability, and that this relationship would be moderated by chronically elevated levels of cortisol. In this pilot study, thirty Mexican-American pregnant women were recruited from a county clinic and completed questionnaires related to discrimination, acculturation, acculturative stress, maternal depressive symptoms and general perceived stress once a trimester. In addition, cortisol in hair, as a retrospective measure of cortisol activity, was collected and analyzed at the end of each trimester. The infants’ heart rate variability was measured at approximately 6 weeks postpartum while at rest and RMSSD calculated as a measure of heart variability. There was not a direct effect of maternal hair cortisol, perceived stress, depressive symptoms, discrimination or acculturative stress on RMSSD. However, more maternal Mexican orientation was marginally associated with less infant heart rate variability (lower RMSSD; r=-0.306, p=0.058). In addition, maternal hair cortisol moderated the relationship between Anglo orientation and RMSSD (B=-35.883, SE=17.478, t=-2.053, p=0.050), such that infants born to mothers with lower hair cortisol and lower Anglo orientation in the second trimester showed less heart rate variability (lower RMSSD). These relationships remained even when controlling for perceived stress. Results play a unique and potentially protective role on fetal brain development in Mexican-American mother/infant dyads.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 12th, 2:15 PM Nov 12th, 2:30 PM

The role of maternal acculturation and cortisol on a marker of early brain development in infants of Mexican descent

HUB 355

Infant heart rate variability is a marker of early brain development and central nervous system activity. During pregnancy, Mexican-American pregnant women experience high levels of psychosocial stressors. These stressors include discrimination and acculturation stressors, which have been associated with increased maternal cortisol levels. However it is unknown if fetal exposure to sociocultural stressors is associated with early brain development in Mexican-Americans and if maternal cortisol is associated with this. Thus, this study hypothesized that infants born to women exposed to sociocultural stressors during pregnancy who show adverse patterns of early brain development, as indicated by decreases in heart rate variability, and that this relationship would be moderated by chronically elevated levels of cortisol. In this pilot study, thirty Mexican-American pregnant women were recruited from a county clinic and completed questionnaires related to discrimination, acculturation, acculturative stress, maternal depressive symptoms and general perceived stress once a trimester. In addition, cortisol in hair, as a retrospective measure of cortisol activity, was collected and analyzed at the end of each trimester. The infants’ heart rate variability was measured at approximately 6 weeks postpartum while at rest and RMSSD calculated as a measure of heart variability. There was not a direct effect of maternal hair cortisol, perceived stress, depressive symptoms, discrimination or acculturative stress on RMSSD. However, more maternal Mexican orientation was marginally associated with less infant heart rate variability (lower RMSSD; r=-0.306, p=0.058). In addition, maternal hair cortisol moderated the relationship between Anglo orientation and RMSSD (B=-35.883, SE=17.478, t=-2.053, p=0.050), such that infants born to mothers with lower hair cortisol and lower Anglo orientation in the second trimester showed less heart rate variability (lower RMSSD). These relationships remained even when controlling for perceived stress. Results play a unique and potentially protective role on fetal brain development in Mexican-American mother/infant dyads.