Get access

Association between Child Cortisol Levels in Saliva and Neuropsychological Development during the Second Year of Life

Authors

  • Joan Forns,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
    • Correspondence: Joan Forns Guzmán, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology- CREAL C. Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.

      Email: jforns@creal.cat

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Oscar Vegas,

    1. Faculty of Psychology, Basque Country University, San Sebastián, Spain
    2. Subdirección de Salud Pública de Gipuzkoa, The Basque Government's Health Department, San Sebastián, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jordi Julvez,

    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
    4. Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Raquel Garcia-Esteban,

    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marcela Rivera,

    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nerea Lertxundi,

    1. Faculty of Psychology, Basque Country University, San Sebastián, Spain
    2. Subdirección de Salud Pública de Gipuzkoa, The Basque Government's Health Department, San Sebastián, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mònica Guxens,

    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Eduardo Fano,

    1. Faculty of Psychology, Basque Country University, San Sebastián, Spain
    2. Subdirección de Salud Pública de Gipuzkoa, The Basque Government's Health Department, San Sebastián, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Muriel Ferrer,

    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • James Grellier,

    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
    4. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jesús Ibarluzea,

    1. Subdirección de Salud Pública de Gipuzkoa, The Basque Government's Health Department, San Sebastián, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jordi Sunyer

    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
    4. Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Exposure to highly elevated levels of cortisol has been linked with impairments in cognitive capacities in both children and adults. By contrast, moderate levels of cortisol may engender beneficial effects. The main aim of this study was to assess the association between child cortisol levels and neuropsychological development during the second year of life. A population-based birth cohort was established in the city of Sabadell (Catalonia, Spain) as part of the INMA (Environment and Childhood) Project. We assessed the cognitive and psychomotor development at the age of 14 months using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID). We included 302 children assessed during their second year of life for whom we had information on neuropsychological assessment and measurements of cortisol in saliva. Higher levels of cortisol were associated with better scores in BSID's mental scale. There was no association between cortisol levels and psychomotor test scores. We found a small positive association between duration of breastfeeding and child cortisol levels. This association was only found in boys. The results of this study suggest that moderate levels of cortisol in children could have small beneficial effects on their early neuropsychological development. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ancillary