Research archives

New Research Shows Potential Benefits When Pregnant Moms Increase Choline Intake

October 25, 2013 in Research

New research from Cornell University published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease in July shows that the cognition of mice with Down syndrome improves dramatically with maternal choline intake. What this means is that women who increase their choline intake while pregnant and expecting a child with Down syndrome might improve the brain function of their child, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and improve spatial cognition.

Barbara Strupp, Cornell professor of nutritional sciences and of psychology and the study’s senior author, says, “Mounting evidence suggests that many women may not be consuming enough choline during pregnancy to promote optimal brain development and cognitive functioning of their babies … Increasing choline intake during pregnancy is sound nutritional advice for all women and may offer an even more pronounced benefit for Down syndrome offspring.”

While the study is promising, Dr. Brian Skotko tells us that it is important to consider that “All of the ‘mother’ mice had Down syndrome, just like their offspring. So, it is always difficult to separate the effects of a pregnant mouse having Down syndrome versus some therapeutic intervention.” In addition, he adds, “The studies are very preliminary. In short, some mice showed improvement on one task related to memory. As the authors point out, ‘future studies are needed to ascertain whether the beneficial effects of [choline] are seen in humans.’ So, there is quite some distance between these mice and humans.”

So, ultimately, the research could lead to some very helpful benefits for those who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, but more research is needed to discover the effectiveness of the treatment in humans. That being said, increasing choline intake through regular dietary intake poses almost no risk for most pregnant women and could be beneficial to their baby. Strupp says, “Choline is an essential nutrient for all individuals, but pregnant women have an even greater need due to the demands of the developing fetus.” So, pregnant moms who want to increase their choline intake can do so by eating more of foods such as eggs and meat, which have the most concentrated sources of choline, as well as broccoli and cauliflower. It’s also possible to take choline supplements, but be sure to consult with your obstetrician before adding any additional vitamins as a pregnant mom and to figure out the safest dosage.

Let us know pregnant moms, what do you think?

Social Media Survey Research

November 8, 2012 in Research, Support

My name is Ginger Edwardsen and I am currently a second year student in genetic counseling program at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.

Down Syndrome Pregnancy has graciously allowed me to introduce myself to your community and explain my current research.

As a part of my Masters’ thesis, I am conducting research on the use of social media by families with a child diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Like many of you, I use social media in my everyday life and find it to be an integral part of the online community today. I am interested in seeing how families such as you use social media to gather information and support about Down syndrome.

I would like to invite you to participate in an online survey about your use of social media. You are being asked to participate in this study because you have a family member or are a caregiver of an individual with Down syndrome. This survey should take around 10-15 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, you will be given the option to provide your contact information for a follow-up phone interview at your convenience. I would love the opportunity to talk with you briefly about the specific ways in which you find social media helpful regarding your family member with Down syndrome.

To complete this survey please click the link below:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/socialmediads

Your time and involvement would be greatly appreciated. If you would like more information or have any questions please feel free to contact me or my faculty advisor with the contact information below.

If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant, you may contact the Office of Research Compliance at the University of South Carolina at (803) 777-7095.

I would like to thank Down Syndrome Pregnancy for allowing me to share my research with you today and I would like to thank you all in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Ginger Edwardsen
Genetic Counseling Intern
University of South Carolina School of Medicine
Department of Clinical Genetics & Molecular Medicine
Two Medical Park, Suite 103
Columbia, SC 29203
ginger.edwardsen@uscmed.sc.edu
919-576-0575

Andrea Sellers
Certified Genetic Counselor
Assistant Professor
University of South Carolina School of Medicine
Department of Clinical Genetics & Molecular Medicine
Two Medical Park, Suite 103
Columbia, SC 29203
asellers@uscmed.sc.edu

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