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Choline Taken During Pregnancy May Protect Against Neurodegenerative Disorders

June 2, 2010: 12:00 PM EST
A study in mice has found that mothers pregnant with Down syndrome babies can improve their offspring’s cognition and emotional regulation by taking a choline supplement. Researchers said that choline, a nutrient found in egg yolks, liver and cauliflower, also seemed to protect the mice from the dementia that is characteristic of aging Down syndrome people, and could possibly protect people “in the population at large” from neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. The U.S. researchers found that the offspring of mothers who received about 4.5 times more choline than unsupplemented mothers showed partial improvement in impulsivity, attention span, emotional control and other mental abilities. ”These are clearly lasting cognitive improvements, seen many months after the period of choline supplementation," the researchers wrote.
Barbara Strupp, Jisook Moon, Myla Strawderman, David Levitsky, "Key nutrient in maternal diet promises "dramatic" improvements for people with Down syndrome", Behavioral Neuroscience, June 02, 2010, © American Psychological Association
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