Vitamin may help alcohol-damaged babies: study
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Giving a vitamin called choline to babies whose mothers drank too much alcohol while pregnant might help overcome some of their resulting deficits, U.S researchers said on Thursday.
Choline, found in peanut butter, iceberg lettuce and soy, among other foods, affects brain development and may help repair some of the damage done by alcohol, the team at San Diego State University found.
"These findings have important implications for children exposed to alcohol prenatally and suggest that dietary interventions implemented after birth may reduce the severity of some fetal alcohol effects," the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience.
Jennifer Thomas and colleagues tested 170 rats, giving their pregnant mothers alcohol before they were born and then giving some of the pups choline after birth.
As expected, the newborn rats were overactive and had learning problems. But they improved when given choline.
"Choline is not going to be a panacea for all symptoms of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders," Thomas cautioned in a statement. "Women need to be continually reminded of the damaging effects of alcohol on the developing fetus."
Choline helps brain cells develop, and the body uses it to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter or message-carrying chemical involved in learning and cognition.
Women are advised to consume 450 mg a day of the vitamin while pregnant and 550 mg a day while breast feeding.
In the United States, choline is added to some prenatal vitamins, baby formulas, children's multivitamins and cereals.
- China food scandal spreads, drags in Starbucks, Burger King and McNuggets in Japan |
- U.S. court rulings create new uncertainty over Obamacare
- Israel pounds Gaza despite international peace efforts |
- EU readies possible capital, tech sanctions on Russia
- Islamic State crushes and coerces on march towards Baghdad
Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health says the Affordable Care Act's unpopularity in 12 key states will keep it a central issue in the 2014 elections. Video