Tuesday May 22, 2018

Prenatal choline may boost babies’ metabolism, brain development

Researchers have found that consuming more foods with choline during pregnancy may boost metabolism and brain development of babies.

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Epilepsy drug in pregnant women may increase oral cleft risk in baby
Epilepsy drug in pregnant women may increase oral cleft risk in baby. wikimedia commons
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Researchers have found that consuming more foods with choline during pregnancy may boost metabolism and brain development of babies. Although the role of choline in neurodevelopment has been studied before in rodents, the new research was conducted on pigs, which has more relevance to humans.

Austin Mudd, a doctoral student in the Neuroscience Program at the University of Illinois said,”In pigs from choline-deficient moms, their brains were about 10 percent smaller overall.” And 11 of the 19 regions were significantly smaller in choline-deficient brains, he said. The result was the same in grey and white matter concentration of the piglets.

This may increase baby’s metabolism and brain development. Pixabay

Conversely, piglets whose mothers consumed sufficient choline during pregnancy had higher concentrations of grey and white matter in the brain’s cortical regions. Grey matter is primarily made up of the neurons themselves, while white matter comprises the material that connects neurons and bridges in different parts of the brain.

Also Read: Acupuncture May Boost Chances Of Pregnancy Through IVF

For the study, the team gave pregnant sows choline-deficient or choline-sufficient diets through the second half of their pregnancies. After weaning, piglets were fed choline-deficient or choline-sufficient milk replacer for 30 days. Then the month-old piglets were scanned by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The left and right cortex were found to be larger in the choline-sufficient pigs, as a result of the a greater density of grey matter in the brain. As part of the study, some of the pigs from choline-deficient mothers were also given adequate amounts of choline after birth.

genetic testing
This is wonderful for mothers and babies. Pixabay

The results showed that it is not sufficient for the brain. “Postnatal supplementation cannot correct for prenatal deficiency. It has to occur during development,” explained Ryan Dilger, associate professor at the varsity.

“We know that the structural alteration is there, but it may not manifest in ways we can see until later in life. That’s why it’s important to think about this during gestation because the changes are occurring then,” Mudd noted. The study was published in Current Developments in Nutrition. IANS

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Parent-Child Communication in Childhood Enhances Brain Development

Communication with parents boosts child's brain development

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Parent-Child Communication in Childhood Enhances Brain Development.
Parent-Child Communication in Childhood Enhances Brain Development. Pixabay

Good communication with parents promotes in a child the development of a brain network involved in the processing of rewards and other stimuli that, in turn, protects against the over consumption of food, alcohol and drugs, says a study.

The findings of the 14-year study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, suggest that robust parent-child communication has an impact on health behaviour in adulthood.

“These findings highlight the value of prevention and intervention efforts targeting parenting skills in childhood as a means to foster long-term, adaptive neurocognitive development,” said study co-author Allen Barton from the University of Georgia in the US.

In 2001, the research team began a longitudinal study involving rural US families with a child 11 years of age.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Between the ages of 11 and 13 years, participants reported on interactions with their parents, including the frequency of discussions and arguing.

When the participants reached 25 years of age, a sub-sample of nearly 100 participants was recruited from the larger study to take part in a neuroimaging session that measured brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Specifically, the researchers used fMRI to study a network of brain connections called the anterior salience network (ASN). The participants also answered questions about harmful alcohol use and emotional eating at age 25.

Also Read: YouTube Overhauls Children’s App After Complaints About Content

Greater parent-child communication in early adolescence predicted greater connectivity of the ASN at age 25, the researcher said.

Greater ASN connectivity was, in turn, associated with lower harmful alcohol use and emotional eating at age 25, they added.  (IANS)