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 World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

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: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>