Off the Record

Vit C deficit may impair babies’ growth

A new study has revealed that vitamin C deficiency may impair the mental development of newborn babies. The study showed that guinea pigs, which lack vitamin C, have 30 per cent less hippocampal neurones and significantly worse spatial memory.
According to lead researcher Jens Lykkesfeldt, like guinea pigs, human beings are dependent on getting vitamin C through their diet. He speculates that vitamin C deficiency in pregnant and breast-feeding women may also lead to impaired development in foetuses and new-born babies. This vitamin seems quite important to brain activity.
Tests have shown that mouse foetuses that were not able to transport vitamin C develop severe brain damage, which resembles the ones found in premature babies and which is linked to learning and cognitive disabilities later in life.
In some areas in the world, vitamin C deficiency is very common - population studies in Brazil and Mexico have shown that 30 to 40 per cent of the pregnant women have too low levels of vitamin C, and the low level is also found in their foetuses and new-born babies.

‘Music Therapy’ for paediatric patients

Scientists have come up with a new mobile tool to deliver music therapy, and help paediatric patients cope with the fear, isolation and pain associated with being in the hospital.
Making an announcement in this regard, Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA described the Music Rx unit as a high-tech, interactive studio on wheels that includes everything necessary for music therapy, both in group settings and one-on-one.
The experts said that the device holds a variety of instruments, including drums, keyboards and guitars, as well as Apple GarageBand software for recording music, a custom-built iPod docking station with 10 iPods to loan, and a large LCD screen that plays hundreds of music videos.
“We are proud to join hands with our friends at Mattel Children’s Hospital and Starlight to bring the healing power of music to thousands of hospitalized children in California. The staff have been incredible partners throughout this project, and I have no doubt they will change lives through the Music Rx Program,” said Mary Turina, CEO of the CCA.

Added estrogen and bone loss

Dietary supplements that claim to have the power of estrogen and help postmenopausal women with bone health may not be as effective as previously believed.
Women who are menopausal or postmenopausal produce less estrogen, that leads to bone loss. Estrogen hormone replacement therapy was the traditional treatment, but it is no longer recommended for the long term because of links to stroke, embolism and breast cancer.
“We found that some plant-derived isoflavones have a modest effect on suppressing bone loss during post-menopause, but more concerning is many dietary supplements that claim to have the power of estrogen do not,” said Connie Weaver, professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University.

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