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Choline may help Down syndrome

June 4, 2010 at 7:54 PM   |   Comments

ITHACA, N.Y., June 4 (UPI) -- The nutrient choline eaten by a mother during pregnancy and while nursing may provide lasting benefits for a child with Down syndrome, U.S. researchers suggest.

Lead author Barbara Strupp of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and colleagues say the study using rodents suggests choline eaten by the mother -- in foods such as egg yolks, liver and cauliflower -- may result in improvements for people with Down syndrome.

The study, published in Behavioral Neuroscience, finds mice whose mothers who were given choline supplements during pregnancy and lactation showed improvement in emotional control and mental abilities compared with controls, whose mothers were given a normal diet.

"I'm impressed by the magnitude of the cognitive benefits seen in the Down syndrome-model mice," Strupp says in a statement. "Moreover, these are clearly lasting cognitive improvements, seen many months after the period of choline supplementation."

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