A new study shows that the month of conception may impact future academic achievement of children. Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine have observed a connection between academic progress and the time of year a child was conceived. Led by neonatologist Paul Winchester, researchers linked test scores found in the statewide testing programs to the month of conception. The results found that the math and language scores were the lowest for children who had been conceived in the months of June through August. [Astrologers may take note: although scientifically discounted, the practice of forecasting constitutional factors according to month of conception is an ancient empirical tradition in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine]
A strange coincidence? Not according to Indiana researchers. They argue that the fetal brain develops shortly after conception and the pesticides used on crops saturate the air during summer months. Nitrates found in pesticides can alter the hormonal balance of the pregnant mother and impede the development of the fetal brain.
Nitrates and pesticides have already been known to cause maternal hypothyroidism, which is associated with cognitive deficiencies in offspring. Consuming pesticides in surface water has also been directly linked to lower cognitive scores. It may be many years before we know the full extent of the adverse effects that pesticides may have on neurodevelopment.