News: Specialized Press

Learning and Hyperactivity Problems Associated With Low Folate Levels in Pregnant Women

Source: JOURNAL OF CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY (published on-line on October, 2009) / Date: October 28, 2009 / Category: Specialized Press

The levels of folic acid during pregnancy may have effects on the child`s behavior as a result of long term changes in the fetal brain development.

This is how concludes a study, the first in humans, leaded by Wolff Scholotz, of Southampton University (United Kingdom) published in 'Child Psychology and Psychiatry'.

Current recommendations, according to Dr. Scholotz “are of at least 400 micrograms of folic acid per day before pregnancy and during the first 12 weeks”.

The weight of the newborn baby is established by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is scientific evidence that the circumference of the head is one of the best predictors of hyperactivity, lack of attention and behavior problems.

Scientists developed a research including 100 8 year old children with ADHD and learning problems. Their mothers had participated previously along with other 453 women in an investigation in which scientists studied their diet and weight of their newborn babies.

They assessed the levels of vitamins in blood and the intake of folic acid supplements during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and at the end of it. They also measured the head circumference of all their babies.

Information confirms that low levels of folates and poor intake of folic acid during the first months of pregnancy are associated with hyperactivity and learning problems. Same happened with cranial circumferences: lower vitamin levels are associated with smaller heads.

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