Two possible perinatal risk factors for cognitive disorders of offspring: iodine deficiency and maternal obesity

Jean Kerver, Assistant Professor, Nutritional Epidemiologist, and a Registered Dietitian; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Nigel Paneth, University Distinguished Professor, RAIND Co-Director, Pediatrician, and Epidemiologist; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

By observing a large sample of pregnancies, researchers will study the link between maternal obesity or excess pregnancy weight gain and neurodevelopmental and behavioral outcomes in offspring.

Using the same group of expecting mothers, they will separately assess iodine nutriture and thyroid status in pregnancy more thoroughly than has yet been done with a large U.S. pregnant population. They will then link these measures to cognitive and behavioral functioning in early childhood. This research will investigate whether, and to what extent, iodine insufficiency is contributing to autism or intellectual disability in the U.S.

Principal Investigators

  1. Jean Kerver, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University 

  2. Nigel Paneth, University Distinguished Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University


  1. Michael Elliott, Professor, Biostatistics, University of Michigan
Brooke Ingersoll, Associate Professor, Psychology, Michigan State University
Daniel Keating, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics; Research Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

Shobha Mehta, M.D., Henry Ford Health System
  4. Elizabeth Pearce, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Boston University

  5. Robert Sokol, The John M. Malone, Jr., M.D., Endowed Chair and Director of the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development and Distinguished Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University