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Special vitamin for baby brain disorder

23rd March 2009

Researchers from Manchester and Leicester universities have said women could take a vitamin pill when they are pregnant to avert the development of the birth defect hydrocephalus.

foetus1

The team carried out tests on rats and found that a particular mix of folates remarkably lessened hydrocephalus.

The condition occurs when cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and exerts pressure on its tissues.

Signs of the disease include an "unusually large" head size, vomiting, learning difficulties, behavioural problems and seizures.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, is in the early stages of research.

The team is hoping to be able to begin clinical trials with women who are pregnant with hydrocephalic babies.

They also want to gain the backing of a pharmaceutical manufacturer in order to make the combination of vitamins needed in the treatment in pill form.

The condition currently occurs in one in 1,000 live births and no "satisfactory treatment" exists apart from diverting fluid from the brain to other parts of the body.

This procedure is known as a shunt, is permanent and can cause infections and blockages.

Lead researcher Jaleel Miyan said: "Cerebrospinal fluid is not a liquid which simply cushions the brain and carries chemicals around it. It is actively produced and transported and plays an essential biological role in developing the brain".

The mixture of vitamins in the supplement is thought to help aid this development.



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