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Reproductive & Child Health News

Mother's Lack of Vitamin B has Lifelong Consequences For Baby
March 31, 1999

A new report suggests that choline intake during pregnancy may have a permanent effect on the development of learning and memory centers in the fetal and infant brain. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill compared the development of rat fetuses and newborns of mothers fed diets high in the B vitamin choline or diets that were choline-deficient to collect data. It was found that choline-deficient fetuses showed significantly lower rates of new cell birth and higher rates of cell death, compared to choline-rich fetuses, in regions surrounding the hippocampal region of the brain, which is a major neurological center for learning and memory. Authors say the findings suggest that choline deficiency during fetal development can lead to lifelong neurological deficits and that they highlight the need for proper maternal nutrition. The report is in the journal Developmental Brain Research (March, 1999).

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