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New corona study: IQ test shows a clear difference in pandemic babies

What effects does the corona pandemic have on babies and toddlers? Researchers make a worrying observation.

Providence – The expected baby boom due to Corona * and the multiple lockdowns have largely failed to materialize, at least in Germany. According to the Federal Statistical Office, it was only after the first easing that the birth rate rose again in Germany. Even with a relatively relaxed infection process, it is not easy for parents to bring children and corona restrictions under one roof.

Studies have repeatedly dealt with the consequences of the pandemic on children. The example of New Zealand showed that the corona quarantine can have a negative effect on the immune system of children *. The country saw a sharp increase in cases of RSV, a viral infection that children are more susceptible to than adults. However, researchers have not only revealed this negative consequence, a recent study now shows clear differences in terms of the cognitive performance of babies and toddlers born in the pandemic.

Corona study on the IQ of babies: Experts reveal enormous differences

Researchers from Providence in the US state of Rode Island have published a study on the cognitive development of pandemic children as part of the “Resonance Consortium”. So far it has only appeared in the so-called pre-print, so it has not yet been thoroughly examined by any specialist public and has not yet appeared in any of the renowned journals.

They worked with data from a total of 672 children between the ages of three months and three years who had completed various cognitive tests as part of examinations since 2011. 188 of these toddlers and babies were born after July 2020, 176 between January 2019 and March 2020. The experts examined factors such as verbal and non-verbal expression and cognitive development using the Mullen scale. The standardized test procedure showed that children who were born in the middle of the pandemic had a significantly lower IQ value than babies and toddlers in previous years. While the values achieved before the pandemic averaged 100, this dropped to just 78. But what could be the reason for this worrying development?

Investigated factors meaning
Early learning composite (ELC) Summarized score of all categories on the scale
Verbal development quotient (VDQ) Verbal development quotient
Non-verbal development quotient (NVDQ) Quotient of non-verbal development
Source: Sean CL Deoni et al. (2021) Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Early Child Cognitive Development

Corona babies’ IQ values plummeted: Experts explain the background

Lead study author Sean Deoni told The Guardian that it was likely due to a lack of stimulation and interaction at home. “The parents are stressed and exhausted […], which significantly reduced the time normally spent with the children.” But can such a negative development still be reversed?

According to the Associate Professor of Pediatrics, this will not be easy. He illustrates this using the example of building a house. While you are still building the foundation, it is easier to add more rooms. Once the foundation is in place, however, it will be difficult. It is also more difficult to make a course correction as the children get older. However, the results of the Corona study are causing concern among experts for another reason.

Corona children with significantly lower IQ values: researchers worried

Because if you look at the origins of the children in the study, another possible problem emerges. None of the children were born prematurely or had a cognitive defect. These children could be affected even worse by the cognitive losses.

In addition, the babies and children came from Rode Island, a state with comparatively good welfare and support for the unemployed. Sean Deoni stresses that in poorer parts of the United States * and around the world, the cognitive development of babies and toddlers born during the pandemic could be far worse. This is also supported by the results of the study, children with a lower socio-economic background performed even worse than their peers from higher social classes. (Sophia Lother) * fr.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

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