On June 21, 2014 the newspaper The Scotsman published an article on a new study suggesting that obesity and diabetes risks are programmed prenatally (Linder et al. 2014). The researchers from the University of Tübingen, Germany found the fetal brain’s response to sugar to be associated with maternal insulin sensitivity. In their study 13 healthy pregnant women underwent oral glucose tolerance testing. Subsequently, the researchers analyzed fetal brain responses to sounds, and found fetuses with more insulin resistant mothers to show slower reaction times. Hubert Preissl, senior author of the study, states that the findings suggest that insulin resistance of the fetal brain may be acquired from the mother. This prenatal programming could have important consequences for later life.

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Rhiannon Edwards (June 21, 2014). “Obesity and diabetes risks may begin in womb.” The Scotsman.


Linder, K. et al (2014). “Maternal insulin sensitivity is associated with oral glucose-induced changes in fetal brain activity. Diabetologia 57, 6, 1192-1198.