(P100135)| Volume 25, SUPPLEMENT 2, S21, November 2022

The intergenerational effects of parental physical activity on offspring brain and cognitive development: a scoping review

      Introduction: Maternal preconception and prenatal health behaviours (e.g., diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, etc.) impact offspring neurodevelopment. Physical activity (PA) has been linked to improved maternal health during preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum and reduced risk of pregnancy complications. PA not only helps to improve physical health but can also enhance brain health and cognition across the lifespan. Accumulating evidence in animal models suggests PA also has intergenerational effects on brain health and development. That is, parental PA levels—both preconception and during pregnancy—can affect offspring brain health. The extent of evidence of these effects in humans is unknown. This scoping review aimed to compile the human literature, identify knowledge gaps, and make recommendations for future human research in this area.
      Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search of PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central, and PsycINFO for studies conducted in humans and published in English from database inception to 9th December 2021. Experimental or observational studies were included that reported data on parental PA exposure preconception (fathers and mothers) or prenatally (mothers only) in addition to data on offspring brain and cognitive development. Two reviewers independently screened studies for inclusion according to predetermined criteria. Data from included studies were extracted by one reviewer and verified by a second, including study characteristics, parental characteristics, offspring characteristics, parental PA exposure, offspring neurocognition, and key findings.
      Results: Fourteen articles were included reporting results from six experimental (sample size n=18-336) and eight observational (sample size n=65-74,971) studies. All (100%) studies reported on maternal characteristics, whereas only one (7%) study reported on paternal characteristics (but not PA). Maternal PA exposure was prenatal only in 11 (79%) studies (100% of experimental studies and 63% of observational studies), while preconception and prenatal PA exposure was reported in three (21%) studies (38% of observational studies). Outcomes of offspring brain and cognitive development included brain activity (electroencephalography), neurodevelopment, communication, behaviour, verbal IQ, academic performance, and intelligence. Offspring follow-up was during the neonatal stage (n=2, 14%), infant stage (1-2y) (n=7, 50%), early childhood (4-7y) (n=3, 21%), late childhood (8-10y) (n=2, 14%), and young adulthood (17-21y) (n=1, 7%). Maternal PA exposure was positively related to offspring brain and cognitive development as neonates (2/2 studies) and infants (5/7 studies).
      Discussion: Despite extensive evidence from animal models, little is known about the intergenerational effects of parental PA on offspring brain and cognitive development in humans, particularly paternal preconception PA. Emerging evidence is promising but more experimental and large prospective observational studies with offspring follow-up into late adolescence and young adulthood are needed. More objective and/or mechanistic assessments (e.g., event-related potentials, magnetic resonance imaging, neurotrophins, etc.) are also required as most existing evidence is based on subjective measures.
      Impact and application to the field: While substantial literature from animal models indicates the benefits of PA on brain health and cognition can be intergenerational, evidence of such effects in humans is scant.
      Conflict of interest statement: My co-authors and I acknowledge that we have no conflict of interest of relevance to the submission of this abstract.