Objective.Evidence on the validity of parental recall of early childhood behaviour is lacking. Our aim was to examine the validity of parental recall at child age 10-12 for maternal lifestyle during pregnancy, birth characteristics and early childhood behaviour. Study Design and Setting. The study population comprised 2,230 children and their parents. Children were recruited from elementary schools at 10-12 years of age (response:76.0%). Parents were asked to recall lifestyle during pregnancy, birth characteristics, and childhood behaviour at age 4-6. Recalled data were compared with information registered by Preventive Child Healthcare (PCH) from birth onwards. Results. For birth weight and gestational age, we found no systematic difference between recalled and PCH registered data; 95% limits of agreement were ± 1.2 pounds (600 grammes) and ± 2.4 weeks respectively. For maternal alcohol use during pregnancy and early childhood behaviour problems, Cohen’s kappas were low (0.03-0.11). Compared to PCH-registration, parents tended to overreport at age 10-12. In contrast, kappa was high for maternal smoking during pregnancy (kappa: 0.77). Conclusion. Retrospectively collected information on lifestyle during pregnancy, birth and early childhood behaviour is sometimes biased, which limits its value in estimating the contribution of early life adversity to health in later life.
Despite their extensive use, the reproducibility of cardiac autonomic measurements in children is not well-known. We investigated the reproducibility of short-term continuous measurements of heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV, time and frequency domain), and spontaneous baroreflex sensitivity (BRS, frequency domain) in the supine and standing position in 57 children (11.2+/-0.7 yrs, 52.6% boys). Reproducibility between two sessions within a two-week interval was evaluated by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs), standard error of measurement, coefficients of variation (CVs), limits of agreement, and Bland–Altman plots. HR and HRV were moderately-to-highly (ICC=.63–.79; CV= 5.7%–9.7%) and BRS moderately (ICC=.49–.63; CV=11.4%–14.0%) reproducible. While the BRS measurements were slightly less reproducible than the HR and HRV measurements, all can be reliably applied in research, thus implicating sufficient capacity to detect real differences between children. Still, clinical studies focusing on individual changes in cardiac autonomic functioning need to address the considerable random variations that may occur between test-retest measurements.
Cognitive performance fluctuates during the day due to diurnal variations in alertness level. This study examined: (1) whether cognitive performance in school-aged children is affected by time-of-day; (2) which functional domains are particularly vulnerable to time-of-day effects; and (3) whether the effects are more pronounced for cognitively more demanding tasks or task conditions. Children, aged 10–12 yrs, were randomly assigned to a test session starting either at 08:30 (n= 802), 10:00 (n = 713), or 13:00 h (n = 652). Speed and accuracy of information processing were evaluated by tasks that assess input-related cognitive processes (e.g., stimulus encoding), central cognitive processes (e.g., working memory, sustained attention), and output-related processes (e.g., response organization) using the Amsterdam Neuropsychological Tasks program. Time-of-day effects in children were identified in specific neurocognitive domains, such as visuospatial processing and working memory, but only under cognitively more demanding task conditions. Sustained attention showed a speedaccuracy tradeoff with increased slowness and lapses in the early morning, but with better feedback responsiveness and perceptual sensitivity than in the early afternoon. Furthermore, there was a significant interaction of time-on-task with time-of-day for tempo, with the afternoon group increasing in tempo with time-on-task, and the early-morning group first showing a slowing of tempo with time-on-task, followed at the end of the task by a speed increase towards the initial levels. To conclude, the authors found time-of-day effects in preadolescents, which were confined to cognitively more demanding tasks tapping input-related and central cognitive processes.
Background. Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often co-occur. Given the previously found familiality of ASD symptoms in children with ADHD, addressing these symptoms may be useful for genetic association studies, especially for candidate gene findings that have not been consistently replicated for ADHD. Methods. We studied the association of the catechol o-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism and the serotonin transporter (SLC6A4/SERT/5-HTT) 5-HTTLPR insertion/deletion polymorphism with ASD symptoms in children with ADHD, and whether these polymorphisms would interact with pre- and perinatal risk factors, i.e., maternal smoking during pregnancy and low birth weight. Analyses were performed using linear regression in 207 Dutch participants with combined type ADHD of the International Multicenter ADHD Genetics (IMAGE) study, and repeated in an independent ADHD sample (n = 439) selected from the TRracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS). Dependent variables were the total and subscale scores of the Children’s Social Behavior Questionnaire (CSBQ). Results. No significant main effects of COMT Val158Met, 5-HTTLPR, maternal smoking during pregnancy and low birth weight on ASD symptoms were found. However, the COMT Val/Val genotype interacted with maternal smoking during pregnancy in increasing stereotyped behavior in the IMAGE sample (p = 0.008); this interaction reached significance in the TRAILS sample after correction for confounders (p = 0.02). In the IMAGE sample, the 5-HTTLPR S/S genotype interacted with maternal smoking during pregnancy, increasing problems in social interaction (p = 0.02), and also interacted with low birth weight, increasing rigid behavior (p = 0.03). Findings for 5-HTTLPR in the TRAILS sample were similar, albeit for related CSBQ subscales. Conclusions. These findings suggest gene-environment interaction effects on ASD symptoms in children with ADHD.