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LONDON - Baby boys who grow slowly in their first year have lower incomes in later life, British researchers reported yesterday.

The results hold true regardless of the socioeconomic status of the child's family, suggesting slow infant growth may be accompanied by hampered brain development, said professor David Barker, who is director of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at Southampton University.

Barker, who presented the findings at the opening in Brighton of the Second World Congress on the Fetal Origins of Adult Disease, said that biological processes linked to poor growth seemed to result in a lifelong impairment of cognitive function.

"What is striking about the findings is that although children who are short at any age up to puberty tend to do less well educationally and have lower incomes in later life, most of the action is in the first year," he said.

Barker has pioneered research into how adult diseases begin in the womb and wrote the recent book "The Best Start in Life."


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