Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Eat your way to a better brain for your baby

25.11.2005


A team of British scientists at Manchester and Lancaster Universities has turned established thinking on its head in a bid to understand the serious and often deadly condition, hydrocephalus, commonly known as ‘water on the brain’.



A simple dietary supplement taken during pregnancy could prevent the brain defect resulting from hydrocephalus, revolutionary research suggests.

Now, parents of children suffering from the condition in the United States have stumped up the money to pay for the next stage of their investigations.


The money will fund a lab at the University of Central Florida headed by the British researchers, who hope their work will lead to a significant reduction in the risk of hydrocephalus and treat, perhaps even cure, those cases that do occur.

“Fetal-onset hydrocephalus results in a blockage in brain development which everyone has always thought was brain damage due to fluid accumulation,” said Dr Jaleel Miyan, the University of Manchester scientist leading the research.

“There is currently no unequivocal prenatal diagnosis test or satisfactory treatment other than surgical diversion of the fluid through a tube, known as a shunt, from the brain to the abdomen or heart. Shunts are permanent and prone to infection and blockage so that patients may require several operations during their lifetime.

“This procedure is based on the established clinical view that this fluid is nothing more than a mechanical support system within the skull with little, if any, physiological properties and that hydrocephalus is simply a build up of excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

“But our studies have shown that the condition may in fact cause a change in the composition of the fluid and that it is this chemical change that prevents normal cell division resulting in arrested brain development.

“We have also been excited by the results of tests that have shown it may be possible to ‘unlock’ the potential brain in fetuses with hydrocephalus using a simple dietary supplement during pregnancy.”

That supplement is currently under wraps as studies are completed to test its potential to cut the rates of hydrocephalus in the same way folic acid has cut the incidence of spina bifida. In the UK and US, hydrocephalus affects one child in every 500 live births; this rises to one in every 100 births in the developing world.

The Florida laboratory is underwritten by an enthusiastic group of parents who have set up a foundation to fund the research work.

Like Dr Miyan, they believe the condition can be better treated without the need for surgery and realise the best hope for this lies with the British scientists collaborating with their local neurosurgeon Dr Jogi Pattisapu.

Indeed, the team has been hailed the ‘flagship research group’ by the President of the Society for Research in Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida, Ms Carole Sobkowiak.

Working with Dr Miyan will be Dr Jane Owen-Lynch, from the University of Lancaster, Professor Carys Bannister, retired neurosurgeon and visiting Professor in Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences, and Miss Sarah Cains, an MRC-funded postgraduate student working on this project in Manchester.

“The collaboration between the Manchester and Lancaster groups has produced a significant change in opinion among clinical practitioners on the role of the fluid within the developing brain,” said Dr Miyan.

“The outdated belief about the role of cerebrospinal fluid, together with the fact that the condition has many possible causes, has meant research funding has been poor, both here in the UK and globally.

“We hope that the potential for rapid progress provided by the parent-led initiative in Florida will stimulate further significant funding here in the UK.”

Dr Miyan and the team are due to fly out to Florida to begin their sabbatical posting in December.

Aeron Haworth | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>