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Cholecalciferol Superior to Ergocalciferol in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Study authors conducted a retrospective review examining the outcome differences in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), comparing treatment with ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) to cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Electronic medical records of patients with IBD were analyzed; initial and follow-up vitamin D values were recorded; type of vitamin D supplementation, cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol, was documented. Patients (n = 108) with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease and an available 25(OH) vitamin D level were studied. While those who received weekly ergocalciferol had higher subsequent levels than those who received cholecalciferol, especially at a second follow up, those who received cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) were less likely to use laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and fee-based services, and had lower laboratory and pharmacy costs. Data suggests that cholecalciferol replacement might improve outcomes to a greater extent than ergocalciferol, and might be better in limiting health-care costs and expenses in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Reference:

"Differences in outcomes between cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol supplementation in veterans with inflammatory bowel disease," Youssef D, Bailey B, et al, Geriatr Gerontol Int, 2012 Jan 10; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Internal Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Tennessee, USA. E-mail: alan.peiris@va.gov ).

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Vitamin C Supplementation May Reduce Blood Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Study authors examined the effect of oral vitamin C with metformin on type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) in a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 12-week study. Subjects (n=70) were patients with type 2 DM. Fasting (FBS,) post-meal blood glucose (PMBG,) glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and plasma ascorbic acid level (PAA) were assessed. Patients were divided randomly into placebo and vitamin C group. Decreased PAA levels were reversed significantly after treatment with vitamin C along with metformin compared to placebo with metformin. FBS, PMBG, and HbA1c levels showed significant improvement after 12 weeks of treatment with vitamin C. Researchers conclude that supplementation of vitamin C with metformin may reverse ascorbic acid levels, reduce FBS, PMBG, and improve HbA1c.

Reference:

"Supplementation of vitamin C reduces blood glucose and improves glycosylated hemoglobin in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, double-blind study," Dakhale GN, Chaudhari HV, Shrivastava M, Adv Pharmacol Sci, 2011; 2011:19527; Epub 2011 Dec 28. (Address: Department of Pharmacology, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur 440018, India. E-mail: gndakhle@rediffmail.com ).

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Associated with Higher Cognitive Function in Former Depressives

Associations between omega-3 PUFA concentrations and cognitive function in an at-risk sample of older people with previous major depression were examined in this cross-sectional study. Participants (n=132) (mean +/- SD age: 67.8 +/- 6.6 y) had recovered from major depression. Samples and information were taken through questionnaire, cognitive tests and fasting blood samples. Higher EPA and total omega-3 PUFA concentrations and a lower ratio of arachidonic acid to EPA in erythrocyte membranes were associated with a higher cognitive composite score, adjusted for education levels. The strongest and most consistent correlations were found between immediate recall and concentrations of total omega-3 PUFAs and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in erythrocytes, which were observed only in participants with recurrent depression. Findings suggest that total erythrocyte omega-3 PUFA concentrations may be positively associated with cognitive function, immediate recall, in elderly population with previous depression and that lower concentrations of omega-3 PUFAs or ALA in erythrocyte membranes may be good predictors for cognitive impairment in the same population.

Reference:

"Associations between n-3 PUFA concentrations and cognitive function after recovery from late-life depression," Chiu CC, Frangou S, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Jan 4; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Psychiatry, Taipei City Psychiatric Center, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail: Sophia.frangou@kcl.ac.uk ).

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Low Serum Antioxidant Levels Could be Important Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease

Study authors investigated anthropometric measurements, body composition, and serum antioxidant vitamin levels in men with coronary heart disease (CHD). Men (n=35) with CHD and men (n=31) without CHD, aged 40 - 65 years, were included in the study. Fat mass (FM) and the percentage of fat mass (FM%) in men with CHD was higher than in men without CHD. Lipid profiles were found to be similar in both groups, with the exception of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Men with CHD had lower HDL-C levels than men without CHD (p < 0.05). Vitamin E intake in men without CHD was found to be less than in men with CHD. Serum vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C levels in CHD were found to be lower than without CHD. Researchers conclude that high FM, low HDL-C, and low serum antioxidant vitamin levels could be important risk factors for CHD.

Reference:

"Serum antioxidant vitamin levels in patients with coronary heart disease," Y?ld?ran H, Mercanl?gil SM, et al, Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2011 Jul; 81(4): 211-7. (Address: Gazi University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Besevler, Ankara, Turkey. E-mail: hyildiran@gazi.edu.tr ).

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Probiotics in the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers evaluated the clinical efficacy of supplementation with a probiotic strain (Lactobacillus salivarius LS01) in the treatment of adult patients with atopic dermatitis (AD). Patients (n=38) were treated with probiotics or placebo (maltodextrin) for a period of 16 wks. Parameters were assessed based on change in SCORAD (SCORing Atopic Dermatitis) index, dermatology life quality index (DLQI) improvement, cytokine production by PBMCs and ability to modify fecal microbial flora. Probiotic group showed improvement of both clinical parameters at the end of treatment (T16) compared with the placebo group, along with evidence of a reduction of Th1 cytokines (IL-12+IFNgamma) and Th1/Th2 ratio (IL-12+IFNgamma/IL-4+IL-5) only in placebo-treated patients. A decrease of staphylococci in feces of the probiotic group was also observed at the end of treatment. L. salivarius LS01 was well tolerated and was associated with im provement of clinical manifestation and quality of life. The authors conclude that L. salivarius LS01 may be an important adjunctive therapy in the treatment of adult AD.

Reference:

"Effects of Lactobacillus salivarius LS01 (DSM 22775) treatment on adult atopic dermatitis: a randomized placebo-controlled study," Drago L, Lemoli E, et al, Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol, 2011 Oct-Dec; 24(4): 1037-48. (Address: Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Clinical Sciences Luigi Sacco, University of Milan, Italy).

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Effects of Exercise and Amino Acid Supplementation on Physical Function in the Elderly

In a randomized controlled trial involving 155 community-dwelling elderly sarcopenic women aged 75 years and older living in Japan, exercise and amino acid supplementation together were found to be associated with improved muscle mass, muscle strength, and walking speed. Subjects were randomized to one of four groups: exercise plus amino acids; exercise alone; amino acids alone; or health education. Exercise consisted of twice weekly attending a 60 minute training program, and the amino acid supplementation consisted of 3 g of a leucine-rich essential amino acid mixture, twice/daily, for 3 months. Results found that the exercise plus amino acid supplementation group experienced the greatest benefits, particularly in leg muscle mass and knee extension strength. The authors conclude, "The data suggest that exercise and AAS together may be effective in enhancing not only muscle strength, but also combined variables of muscle mass and walking speed and of muscle mass and strength in sarcopenic women."

Reference:

"Effects of Exercise and Amino Acid Supplementation on Body Composition and Physical Function in Community-Dwelling Elderly Japanese Sarcopenic Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial," Kim HK, Suzuki T, et al, J Am Geriatr Soc, 2011 Dec 5; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Research Team for Promoting Independence of the Elderly, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Tokyo, Japan).

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Vitamin D Deficiency and Peripheral Neuropathy in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

In a study involving 210 patients with type 2 diabetes with or without diabetic peripheral neuropathy, vitamin D deficiency was found to be an independent risk factor for peripheral neuropathy. Of the 210 diabetic subjects, 87 were found to have diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and these patients were found to have a significantly longer duration of diabetes as well as higher HbA(1c). The mean vitamin D level was found to be significantly lower in subjects with peripheral neuropathy (36.9 nmol/L), as compared to those without neuropathy (58.32 nmol/L). Of patients with neuropathy, 81.5% were found to be vitamin D deficient, as compare to just 60.4% of those without neuropathy. Furthermore, vitamin D levels were significantly associated with total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and urine microalbumin:creatinine ratio. According to binary logistic regression analysis, diabetic peripheral neuropathy was significantly associated with vitamin D deficiency (OR=3.47). The authors conclude, "Vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and further studies are required to confirm if Vitamin D supplementation could prevent or delay the onset."

Reference:

"Does Vitamin D deficiency play a role in peripheral neuropathy in Type 2 diabetes?" Shehab D, Al-Jarallah K, et al, Diabet Med, 2011 Nov 2; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Medicine Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University Department of Medicine, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, Kuwait).

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Coenzyme Q10 May Protect the Kidneys in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

In a study involving an experimental mouse model of type 2 diabetic nephropathy, oral administration of ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10, 10 mg/kg/d) was found to have renoprotective effects. Specifically, in diabetic mice not treated with coenzyme Q10, urinary albumin excretion level was elevated as was the albumin:creatinine ratio, which was not the case in mice treated with CoQ10. Furthermore, coenzyme Q10 was found to significantly decrease the diabetes-induced increases in total renal collagen, and to attenuate the excess renal mitochondrial hydrogen peroxide production and increased mitochondrial membrane potential found in diabetic mice. The authors conclude, "Our results suggest that a deficiency in mitochondrial oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone) may be a likely precipitating factor for diabetic nephropathy. Therefore CoQ10 supplementation may be renoprotective in type 2 diabetes, via preservation of mitochondrial function."

Reference:

"Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10) prevents renal mitochondrial dysfunction in an experimental model of type 2 diabetes," Sourris KC, Harcourt BE, et al, Free Radic Biol Med, 2011 Nov 21; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Glycation and Diabetes Complications, Baker IDI Heart Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia).

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French Maritime Pine Bark Extract May Improve Cognitive Function, Attention, and Mental Performance in Students

In a study involving 53 healthy university students between the ages of 18 and 27 years, supplementation with French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol(R)) for a period of 8 weeks was found to be associated with statistically significant improvements in cognitive function, specifically, improved sustained attention, memory, executive functions and mood ratings, as compared to controls who were not given Pycnogenol(R). The students were given university examinations, and results found that in those given Pycnogenol(R), students failed 7 tests out of 112 (6.25%), as compared to controls who failed 9 tests out of 84 (10.71%), and the average test score among those given Pycnogenol(R) was 26.1 as compared to 23.81 in controls. The authors conclude, "This study indicates a role for Pycnogenol&reg; to improve cognitive function in normal students."

Reference:

"Pycnogenol&reg; supplementation improves cognitive function, attention and mental performance in students," Luzzi R, Belcaro G, et al, Panminerva Med, 2011 Sept; 53(3 Suppl 1): 75-82. (Address: Irvine Labs, Department of Biomedical Sciences Chieti - Pescara University, Pescara, Italy. E-mail: cardres@abol.it ).

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Green Tea Catechins Decrease Total and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol

In a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials evaluating the relationship between green tea catechins and serum lipid levels (including total, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides), 20 trials, including a total of 1,415 subjects, which met the inclusion criteria were included in the analysis. Green tea catechins in doses ranging from 145 to 3,000 mg/d taken for 3-24 weeks were found to reduce total cholesterol (-5.46 mg/dL) and LDL cholesterol (-5.30 mg/dL), as compared to controls, while no significant changes in HDL cholesterol or triglycerides were found. The authors conclude, "The consumption of GTCs is associated with a statistically significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol levels; however, there was no significant effect on HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels."

Reference:

"Green tea catechins decrease total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: a systematic review and meta-analysis," Kim A, Chiu A, et al, J Am Diet Assoc, 2011 Nov; 111(11): 1720-9. (Address: University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, Hartford, CT, USA).

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Coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson's Disease

In this Cochrane review, the authors analyzed results from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials involving a total of 452 patients, that compared the effects of coenzyme Q10 to placebo in patients suffering from early and mid-stage primary Parkinson's disease. Results found that coenzyme Q10 at a dose of 1200 mg/d for a period of 16 months was tolerated well by patients with Parkinson's disease and was associated with improvements in activities of daily living (WMD - 3.12) and Scwab and England (WMG 4.43) scores. Only mild elevations in risk ratios for diarrhea (RR=1.39) and pharyngitis (RR=1.04) were associated with coenzyme Q10 intake, but there were not differences in the coQ10 group versus the placebo group in terms of the number of patients who withdrew from the study due to adverse effects. The authors conclude, "Coenzyme Q10 therapy with 1200 mg/d for 16 months was well tolerated by patients with Parkinson's disease. The improvement s in ADL UPDRS and Schwab and England were positive, but it need to be further confirmed by larger sample."

Reference:

"Coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson's disease," Liu J, Wang L, et al, Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2011 Dec; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: of Geriatric Neurology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Fuxinglu 28, Beijing, China, 100853).

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Calcium and Vitamin D Supplementation and Abdominal Fat

In this study, 2 parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 16 week trials were conducted involving 171 overweight and obese subjects (mean age: 40 years) randomly assigned to either consume 240 mL of an orange juice (regular or lite) fortified with 250 mg calcium and 100 IU vitamin D per serving, or an unfortified orange juice (regular or lite). Results found that after 16 weeks, the reduction in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) was significantly greater (-12.7 cm(2)) among subjects who received OJ fortified with calcium and vitamin D, as compared to those who received unfortified OJ (-1.3 cm(2)), and the reduction was even greater in the trial with "lite orange juice"; those who received lite OJ fortified with calcium and vitamin D has a reduction in VAT of -13.1 cm(2), as compared to -6.4 in the unfortified lite OJ group. The authors conclude, "The findings suggest that calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation contributes to a beneficial reduction of VAT.&qu ot;

Reference:

"Calcium and vitamin D supplementation is associated with decreased abdominal visceral adipose tissue in overweight and obese adults," Rosenblum JL, Castro VM, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Jan; 95(1): 101-8. (Address: Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA).

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Low Vitamin D Status May Increase Mortality Risk

In this meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies investigating the effects of vitamin D status on risk of mortality, the evidence suggest that as circulating 25(OH)D levels increase, the risk of mortality decreases in a non-linear manner, with optimal concentrations between 75 and 87.5 nmol/L. Results from 14 prospective cohort studies which involved 5,562 deaths (out of 62,548 subjects) and which included data on relative risks for mortality at different 25(OH)D concentrations were analyzed and it was found that the estimated summary RR of mortality was 0.71 for the highest 25(OH)D level versus the lowest. The authors applied parametric modeling to 11 studies which included data from 59,231 subjects and results of these found the estimated summary RRs of mortality to be 0.86, 0.77, and 0.69 for individuals with an increase of 12.5, 25, and 50 nmol/L 25(OH)D serum values/L, respectively, from a median reference category of approximately 27.5 nmol. No significant decreas e in mortality was found when an increase of ~87.5 nmol/L above the reference category occurred. The authors conclude, "Data suggest a nonlinear decrease in mortality risk as circulating 25(OH)D increases, with optimal concentrations ~75-87.5 nmol/L."

Reference:

"Vitamin D deficiency and mortality risk in the general population: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies," Zitterman A, Iodice S, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Jan; 95(1): 91-100. (Address: Clinic for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart Centre North Rhine-Westphalia, Ruhr University Bochum, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany).

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Coenzyme Q10 Protects Against Acute Liver Injury Induced by Acetaminophen

In a study involving rats induced with liver injury through a single dose of acetaminophen (700 mg/kg, p.o.), administration with coenzyme Q10 (20 i.p. injections, 10 mg/kg each) at 1 and 12 hours following acetaminophen administration, was found to significantly reduce the levels of serum aminotransferases, suppress lipid peroxidation, prevent the decrease of reduced glutathione and catalase activity, decrease the elevation of TNF-alpha and nitric oxide, and attenuate the reductions of selenium and zinc ions in liver tissue resulting from acetaminophen administration. Furthermore, histopathological liver tissue damage resulting from acetaminophen was mediated by coenzyme Q10. The authors conclude that, "coenzyme Q10 protects rat liver against acute acetaminophen hepatotoxicity, most probably through its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiapoptotic effects."

Reference:

"Hepatoprotective effect of coenzyme Q10 in rats with acetaminophen toxicity," Fouad AA, Jresat I, Environ Toxicol Pharmacol, 2011 Dec 16; 33(2): 158-167. [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacology Division, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia).

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Ear Acupuncture Effectively Reduces Anxiety Before Dental Treatment

In a prospective, randomized, patient-blinded study involving 182 patients, treatment with ear (auricular) acupuncture - one of the microsystems of acupuncture - was found to significantly reduce anxiety prior to dental treatment (state anxiety scores reduced from 54.7 to 46.9), as compared to the effects of sham acupuncture. The authors state, "Auricular acupuncture could be an option for patients scheduled for dental treatment, who experience an uncomfortable degree of anxiety and request an acute intervention for their anxiety."

Reference:

"Auricular acupuncture effectively reduces state anxiety before dental treatment-a randomised controlled trial," Michalek-Sauberer A, Gusenleitner E, et al, Clin Oral Investig, 2012 Jan 6; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Special Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Austria, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria. E-mail: andrea.michalek-sauberer@meduniwien.ac.at ).

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Raw Fruit and Vegetable Consumption May Reduce the Risk of Stroke

In a prospective, population-based, cohort study involving analysis of data from 20,069 women and men between the ages of 20 and 65 years, free of cardiovascular diseases at baseline, who were followed up with for an average 10.3 years, during which time 233 incident stroke cases were documented, high intake of raw fruit and vegetables was found to be associated with a 30% lower incidence of total stroke (HR=0.70 for those in the highest quartile of intake (>262 g/d), as compared to the lowest quartile of intake (92 g/d or less)). Intake of raw vegetables was significantly inversely associated with ischemic stroke (>27 g/d; HR=0.50) and intake of raw fruit was was borderline significantly associated with hemorrhagic stroke (>120 g/d; HR=0.53). Processed fruit and vegetable intake was not associated with incident stroke. The authors conclude, "High intake of raw fruit and vegetables may protect against stroke."

Reference:

"Raw and processed fruit and vegetable consumption and 10-year stroke incidence in a population-based cohort study in the Netherlands," Oude Griep LM, Verschuren WM, et al, Eur J Clin Nutr, 2011 July; 65(7): 791-9. (Address: Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands. E-mail: Linda.oudegriep@wur.nl ).

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Chew on This

This just in! New research reveals that there’s a really simple way to ditch some pounds – and it doesn’t necessarily involve eating low-calorie food . . . just eating more conscientiously.

Study subjects ate 12 percent fewer calories when they chewed 40 times before swallowing, compared with a mere 15 times. Sure, this may be hard to do in our hectic, eat-as-fast-as-you-can society. But it’s worth it.

Scientists say the reason lies in two hormones: chewing is associated  with lower levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, and higher concentrations of a hormone that may squash your appetite.

So SLOW DOWN!
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Acupressure May Effectively Treat Pruritus(Itching) associated with Atopic Dermatitis

In this randomized trial involving 12 subjects experiencing pruritis associated with atopic dermatits, acupressure at a particular acupuncture point, performed 3 times per week for a period of 4 weeks, along with 'standard of care' was found to be associated with a decrease in severity of itching, assessed via a Visual Analogue Scale, as compared to subjects who received 'standard of care' and no acupressure. A 1.2 mm acupuncture pellet was applied to the acupuncture point located near the edge of the elbow crease (LI-11), and the point was stimulated for 3 minutes, 3 times per week for a period of 4 weeks, after which time, improvements in both pruritis and lichenification were found. The authors conclude, "Acupressure may prove to be an easily administered alternative treatment... larger-scale studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings."

Reference:

"Effectiveness of acupressure on pruritus and lichenification associated with atopic dermatitis: a pilot trial," Lee KC, Keyes A, et al, Acupunct Med, 2011 Dec 28; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Dermatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA).

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Period Power

It may seem like a pain in the ass to be a woman sometimes, especially around “that time of the month.” But new research suggests that your menstrual cycle may actually be good for your ass . . . well, in the muscle-building sense.

Turns out women have a spike in strength-building hormones during the middle of their luteal phase (seven to 10 days after ovulation). Normally during exercise, women’s ovaries release hormones such as testosterone (which increase strength). But in the luteal phase, they produce even more of these hormones.

Make sure you don't lay off and "go light" during this time either. Lifting heavier weights may give you greater gains, according to the researchers.
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Prenatal Folic Acid Supplements Early in Pregnancy Reduce the Risk of Severe Language Delay in Children at 3 Years of Age

In a prospective, observational study involving an analysis of data from 38,954 children born before 2008 whose mothers completed a 3-year follow-up questionnaire including information about their use of folic acid supplementation in the interval from 4 weeks prior to conception through 8 weeks after conception, out of whom 204 (0.5%) were found to have severe language delay, maternal use of folic acid supplements in early pregnancy was found to be associated with a reduced risk of severe language delay in children at 3 years of age. Specifically, in children whose mothers took no dietary supplements (n=9,054), severe language delay was found in 81 children (0.9%). The adjusted ORs for for severe language delay were as follows: those whose mothers took other supplements but no folic acid (n=2,480, severe language delay in 22 children) had an OR of 1.04; those whose mothers took folic acid only (n=7,127, severe language delay in 28 children) had an OR of 0.55; those whose mo thers took folic acid and other supplements (n=19,005, severe language delay in 73 children), had an OR of 0.55. The authors conclude, "Among this Norwegian cohort of mothers and children, maternal use of folic acid supplements in early pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of severe language delay in children at age 3 years."

Reference:

"Folic acid supplements in pregnancy and severe language delay in children," Roth C, Magnus P, et al, JAMA, 2011 Oct 12; 306(14): 1566-73. (Address: Division of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, PO Box 4404, Nydalen, 0403 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: christine.roth@fhi.no ).

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