Pre- and postnatal environmental- and genetic factors in relation to brain development in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study

The Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study is a large, nation-wide prospective study following Norwegian mothers and their children during development: LCBC has been fortunate to be allowed to recruit a subgroup of participants through this study to research brain development i relation to important factors

To aid the understanding of the cerebral basis for

early development

In this research project we investigate the brain’s appearance, activity and function and how these factors change in children as they age. We also attempt to map various factors that may affect brain development, such as nutrition, physical activity and genetics.  Through studying many healthy children, or what we call a representative sample, over a longer period of time, we can start to understand these relationships.

This project is sub-project of the Norwegian mother and child survey (MoBa), which is one of the world’s largest health surveys.

The participants were recruited through FHI and you can read more about MoBa here:


The primary objective is to relate brain development to circumstances during and after pregnancy in 700 children. Children aged 4-11 were recruited through the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort (MoBa) study and will have repeated examinations as they develop across years. These data will become part of the MoBa database. We will study six questions, forming the project’s secondary objectives:

  1. How does regional brain development relate to the child´s developmental progress, coping, and cognitive functioning?
  2. What are the trajectories of regional development of the brain’s connections and neuronal tissue?
  3. How is brain and cognitive development modulated by genetic variations?
  4. How does pregnancy duration, birth weight, and newborn health relate to brain and cognitive development?
  5. Is moderate exposure to commonly used drugs during pregnancy related to brain development?
  6.  How is nutrition during and after pregnancy related to brain and cognitive development?


The overarching framework is that early influences of biological and environmental origins present in pregnancy interact with genetic and later environmental variables in impacting brain and cognitive development. The results will aid understanding of the brain basis for early development, and may aid early intervention and diagnosis.