Authors of a study in this week’s issue of THE LANCET caution that the provision of zinc supplementation to pregnant women in developing countries could impair the early mental development of their children. Zinc deficiency is common in developing countries due to a diet that is low in animal protein and high in fibre. Supplements given to Bangladeshi pregnant women have previously been shown to improve infant growth and to reduce susceptibility to infectious diseases. In a follow-up study, Sally Grantham McGregor and Jena Habadani from the Institute for Child Health, London, UK, and colleagues from the International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, assessed these infants at 13 months of age to investigate the effect of antenatal zinc supplementation on infant development and behaviour.
The mental development of 168 infants (whose mothers received either 30 mg per day of zinc or placebo during pregnancy) were assessed. Infants in the placebo group had higher scores for both mental and psychomotor development. Zinc supplementation had no significant effect on behaviour or growth. The children’s nutritional status was poor—weight-for-age at testing was strongly related to development.
Sally Grantham McGregor comments: “Undernutrition is generally accepted to be detrimental to children’s development, our findings emphasise the serious nature of the problem in populations with high proportions of underweight children. Since zinc supplementation in infants has a beneficial effect on growth and morbidity, and supplementation of mothers was associated with reduced morbidity in low birthweight infants in this study, our findings complicate policy making…Undernourished pregnant women obviously require more than zinc alone. The next step would be to examine the effect of more comprehensive supplementations to improve maternal nutritional status during pregnancy on a broad range of outcomes including infants’ development.”
Full text of this paper (pdf 84.17kb)
Richard Lane | AlphaGalileo
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences