University of Alberta Medical School study: Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development

29 May

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explains why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

Science Daily reported in Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development: Study discovers previously unknown benefits of fruit consumption in expectant mothers:

Most people have heard the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s an old truth that encompasses more than just apples–eating fruit in general is well known to reduce risk for a wide variety of health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. But now a new study is showing the benefits of fruit can begin as early as in the womb.

The study, published in the journal EbioMedicine, found that mothers who consumed more fruit during pregnancy gave birth to children who performed better on developmental testing at one year of age. Piush Mandhane, senior author of the paper and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, made the discovery using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study–a nationwide birth cohort study involving over 3,500 Canadian infants and their families. Mandhane leads the Edmonton site of the study….

The study examined data from 688 Edmonton children, and controlled for factors that would normally affect a child’s learning and development such as family income, paternal and maternal education, and the gestational age of the child.

Using a traditional IQ scale as a model, the average IQ is 100 and the standard deviation is 15; two thirds of the population will fall between 85 and 115. Mandhane’s study showed that if pregnant mothers ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice a day, on average their infants placed six or seven points higher on the scale at one year of age….

To further build on the research, Mandhane teamed with Francois Bolduc, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Division of Pediatric Neurology, who researches the genetic basis of cognition in humans and fruit flies. Both researchers believe that combining pre-clinical models and epidemiological analysis is a novel approach that may provide useful new insights into future medical research.

“Flies are very different from humans but, surprisingly, they have 85 per cent of the genes involved in human brain function, making them a great model to study the genetics of memory,” says Bolduc. “To be able to improve memory in individuals without genetic mutation is exceptional, so we were extremely interested in understanding the correlation seen between increased prenatal fruit intake and higher cognition.”

According to Bolduc, fruit flies have a long track record in the field of learning and memory. Several genes known to be necessary in fly memory have now been found to be involved in intellectual disability and autism by Bolduc and others. In a subsequent series of experiments, he showed that flies born after being fed increased prenatal fruit juice had significantly better memory ability, similar to the results shown by Mandhane with one-year-old infants. He believes it suggests that brain function affected by fruit and the mechanisms involved have been maintained through evolution, and conserved across species.

While the findings are encouraging, Mandhane cautions against going overboard on fruit consumption as potential complications such as gestational diabetes and high birthweight–conditions associated with increased intake of natural sugars–have not been fully researched. Instead, he suggests that expectant mothers meet the daily intake recommended in Canada’s Food Guide and consult with their doctors…..                                                                                                         https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160525161548.htm

Citation:

Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development

Study discovers previously unknown benefits of fruit consumption in expectant mothers

Date:      May 25, 2016

Source:  University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Summary:

The benefits of eating fruit can begin as early as in the womb. A new study, using data from nearly 700 Edmonton children, demonstrates that infants do significantly better on developmental tests when their mothers consume more fruit during pregnancy.

Journal Reference:

      Francois V. Bolduc, Amanda Lau, Cory S. Rosenfelt, Steven Langer, Nan Wang, Lisa Smithson, Diana Lefebvre, R. Todd Alexander, Clayton T. Dickson, Liang Li, Allan B. Becker, Padmaja Subbarao, Stuart E. Turvey, Jacqueline Pei, Malcolm R. Sears, Piush J. Mandhane.

Cognitive Enhancement in Infants Associated with Increased Maternal Fruit Intake During Pregnancy: Results from a Birth Cohort Study with Validation in an Animal Model

      .

EBioMedicine

      , 2016; DOI:

10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.025Cognitive Enhancement in Infants Associated with Increased Maternal Fruit Intake During Pregnancy: Results from a Birth Cohort Study with Validation in an Animal Model

Francois V. Bolduc  Amanda Lau1    Cory S. Rosenfelt1   Steven Langer

,Nan Wang, Lisa Smithson, Diana Lefebvre, R. Todd Alexander, Clayton T. Dickson,

Liang Li, Allan B. Becker, Padmaja Subbarao, Stuart E. Turvey  Jacqueline Pei,

Malcolm R. Sears, Piush J. Mandhane

, The CHILD Study Investigatorsi

1These authors contributed equally to this paper.

Open Access

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.025

Article Info

Highlights

  • •Gestational fruit intake positively correlates with infant cognitive performance.
  • •Similar findings in a birth cohort and in Drosophila learning and memory scores
  • •Cyclic adenylate monophosphate (cAMP) pathway may be a major regulator of this effect.
  • •Postnatal fruit intake did not enhance cognitive outcomes in humans or Drosophila.

Fruits have been an important part of the human diet for thousands of years. We wanted to know if more fruit intake improves our ability to learn. Using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, we found that mothers who ate more fruit during pregnancy had children who did better on developmental testing at 1 year of age. Similarly, fruit flies had improved learning and memory if their parents had more fruit juice in their diet. In both humans and in the flies, there was no improvement in learning when only the babies were fed fruit.

Abstract

In-utero nutrition is an under-studied aspect of cognitive development. Fruit has been an important dietary constituent for early hominins and humans. Among 808 eligible CHILD-Edmonton sub-cohort subjects, 688 (85%) had 1-year cognitive outcome data. We found that each maternal daily serving of fruit (sum of fruit plus 100% fruit juice) consumed during pregnancy was associated with a 2.38 point increase in 1-year cognitive development (95% CI 0.39, 4.37; p < 0.05). Consistent with this, we found 30% higher learning Performance index (PI) scores in Drosophila offspring from parents who consumed 30% fruit juice supplementation prenatally (PI: 85.7; SE 1.8; p < 0.05) compared to the offspring of standard diet parents (PI: 65.0 SE 3.4). Using the Drosophila model, we also show that the cyclic adenylate monophosphate (cAMP) pathway may be a major regulator of this effect, as prenatal fruit associated cognitive enhancement was blocked in Drosophila rutabaga mutants with reduced Ca2+-Calmodulin-dependent adenylyl cyclase. Moreover, gestation is a critical time for this effect as postnatal fruit intake did not enhance cognitive performance in either humans or Drosophila. Our study supports increased fruit consumption during pregnancy with significant increases in infant cognitive performance. Validation in Drosophila helps control for potential participant bias or unmeasured confounders.

Here is the press article from the University of Alberta:

An apple a day

UAlberta study shows infants do better on developmental tests when their mothers consume more fruit during pregnancy

By Ali Dotinga and Ross Neitz on May 25, 2016

Piush Mandhane, senior author of the study, found that prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development

Most people have heard the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s an old truth that encompasses more than just apples—eating fruit in general is well known to reduce risk for a wide variety of health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. But now a new study is showing the benefits of fruit can begin as early as in the womb.

The study, published in the journal EbioMedicine, showed that mothers who consumed more fruit during pregnancy gave birth to children who performed better on developmental testing at one year of age. Piush Mandhane, senior author of the paper and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, made the discovery using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study—a nationwide birth cohort study involving over 3,500 Canadian infants and their families. Mandhane leads the Edmonton site of the study.

“We wanted to know if we could identify what factors affect cognitive development,” Mandhane explains. “We found that one of the biggest predictors of cognitive development was how much fruit moms consumed during pregnancy. The more fruit moms had, the higher their child’s cognitive development.”

In the study, researchers examined data from 688 Edmonton children, controlling for factors that would normally affect a child’s learning and development, such as family income, paternal and maternal education, and the gestational age of the child.

Using a traditional IQ scale as a model, the average IQ is 100 and the standard deviation is 15; two-thirds of the population will fall between 85 and 115. Mandhane’s study showed that if pregnant mothers ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice a day, on average their infants placed six or seven points higher on the scale at one year of age.

“It’s quite a substantial difference—that’s half of a standard deviation,” Mandhane explains. “We know that the longer a child is in the womb, the further they develop—and having one more serving of fruit per day in a mother’s diet provides her baby with the same benefit as being born a whole week later.”

To further build on the research, Mandhane teamed with Francois Bolduc, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Division of Pediatric Neurology, who researches the genetic basis of cognition in humans and fruit flies. Both researchers believe that combining pre-clinical models and epidemiological analysis is a novel approach that may provide useful new insights into future medical research.

“Flies are very different from humans but, surprisingly, they have 85 per cent of the genes involved in human brain function, making them a great model to study the genetics of memory,” says Bolduc. “To be able to improve memory in individuals without genetic mutation is exceptional, so we were extremely interested in understanding the correlation seen between increased prenatal fruit intake and higher cognition.”

According to Bolduc, fruit flies have a long track record in the field of learning and memory. Several genes known to be necessary in fly memory have now been found to be involved in intellectual disability and autism by Bolduc and others. In a subsequent series of experiments, he showed that flies born after being fed increased prenatal fruit juice had significantly better memory ability, similar to the results shown by Mandhane with one-year-old infants. He believes it suggests that brain function affected by fruit and the mechanisms involved have been maintained through evolution, and conserved across species.

Though the findings are encouraging, Mandhane cautions against going overboard on fruit consumption, because potential complications such as gestational diabetes and high birth weight—conditions associated with increased intake of natural sugars—have not been fully researched. Instead, he suggests that expectant mothers meet the daily intake recommended in Canada’s Food Guide and consult with their doctors.

Mandhane also says he will continue work in the field, with plans to examine whether the benefits of prenatal fruit consumption persist in children over time. He will also be looking to determine whether fruit can influence childhood development related to executive functioning—in areas such as planning, organizing and working memory.

Funding information

Funding for Mandhane’s study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute at the U of A.

https://www.med.ualberta.ca/news/2016/may/an-apple-a-day

The key is regular prenatal care.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports in What is prenatal care and why is it important?

Prenatal Care

Women who suspect they may be pregnant should schedule a visit to their health care provider to begin prenatal care. Prenatal visits to a health care provider include a physical exam, weight checks, and providing a urine sample. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, health care providers may also do blood tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasound exams. These visits also include discussions about the mother’s health, the infant’s health, and any questions about the pregnancy.

Preconception and prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy. With regular prenatal care women can:

  • Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. Following a healthy, safe diet; getting regular exercise as advised by a health care provider; and avoiding exposure to potentially harmful substances such as lead and radiation can help reduce the risk for problems during pregnancy and ensure the infant’s health and development. Controlling existing conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, is important to avoid serious complications in pregnancy such as preeclampsia.
  • Reduce the infant’s risk for complications. Tobacco smoke and alcohol use during pregnancy have been shown to increase the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Alcohol use also increases the risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which can cause a variety of problems such as abnormal facial features, having a small head, poor coordination, poor memory, intellectual disability, and problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.2 According to one recent study supported by the NIH, these and other long-term problems can occur even with low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.3

In addition, taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily reduces the risk for neural tube defects by 70%.4 Most prenatal vitamins contain the recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid as well as other vitamins that pregnant women and their developing fetus need.1,5 Folic acid has been added to foods like cereals, breads, pasta, and other grain-based foods. Although a related form (called folate) is present in orange juice and leafy, green vegetables (such as kale and spinach), folate is not absorbed as well as folic acid.

  • Help ensure the medications women take are safe. Certain medications, including some acne treatments6 and dietary and herbal supplements,7 are not safe to take during pregnancy.

Learn more about prenatal and preconception care.

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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