Nutrition and health (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire)

Published by SAGE Publications
Print ISSN: 0260-1060
All that science can do is to look into processes which, apparently first began to operate four billion years ago before any scientists were present to observe or comment. These processes fall into three categories--energetics, chemistry and life. Energetics and chemistry have been documented but what about life.
In order to investigate the relationships between diet and tooth decay the authors recently completed the first longitudinal study of diet and dental caries increment in children. 405 children initially aged 11.5 years each recorded their intake of foods and drinks for a total of 15 days over a period of 2 years. This is a review of some of the findings. The evidence implicating consumption of sugars in the causation of dental caries is both diverse and overwhelming (Rugg-Gunn, 1983). Of the 30 or so observational studies relating diet and dental caries in children, all except one have been cross-sectional in design. Such a design is unsatisfactory in older children at least because there is little reason why a lifetime's caries experience should be related to a single estimate of dietary intake. In addition there have been few reports of the food intake in general, and sugars intake in particular, of children in the UK. A longitudinal survey of intake could indicate how choice of foods changes with age and if repeated could show how preferences change over time. The National Food Survey has provided some information on food acquisition (not consumption) over the past 40 years (Derry and Buss, 1984). Unfortunately, besides not estimating consumption this survey does not include foods bought and consumed away from the home such as confectionery and soft drinks. Furthermore, this survey collects data by household and so information for age and sex specific groups is not available. Comments regarding sugars consumption amongst children must be derived from data collected from properly designed dietary surveys of defined groups of individuals. Such knowledge of what children eat is essential to the planning of effective health education campaigns. In order to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between diet and caries in children and to contribute to health education a longitudinal study was undertaken which had the following aim: to rank some defined dietary factors either singly or in combination in the order in which they explain the dental caries increment of over 400 children.
Detailed dietary and biochemical analyses were done on 16 consecutive cases of children aged 5-15 years referred for a combined remedial reading/behaviour modification program. Each child was given an individually designed vitamin and mineral supplement. Diets were also changed to reduce sugars and refined foods and toxic metals contamination. Cases were matched in pairs with 16 other cases on the program who were given no dietary changes but who received a one-a-day vitamin/mineral capsule as part of standard procedure at the clinic. Over 22 weeks on the program, the experimental group showed significantly greater improvements than the control group in behaviour assessed at school, at home and in the clinic. The experimental group also made significantly greater gains in reading skills. Routine Stanford-Binet intelligence tests given at week 2 and week 20 or 21 showed increased IQ scores of 5 to 35 points (mean = 17.9) for the experimental group. Increases for the control group were 0-21 points (mean = 8.4). Results suggest that subtle nutritional variables exert a substantial influence on learning and behaviour.
Background: To clarify the nature of the relationship between: food deprivation and undernutrition during pre- and postnatal development; and cholesterol levels in later life, this study examined the relationship between birth weight (as a marker of prenatal nutrition) and cholesterol levels among 396 Guernsey islanders (born in 1923-1937), 87 of whom (22%) had been exposed to food deprivation as children, adolescents or young adults (i.e. to postnatal undernutrition) during the 1940-45 German occupation of the Channel Islands, and 309 of whom (78%) had left or been evacuated from the islands before the occupation began. Methods: Three sets of multiple regression models were used to investigate: Model A - the relationship between birth weight and cholesterol levels; Model B - the relationship between postnatal exposure to the occupation and cholesterol levels; and Model C - any interaction between birth weight, postnatal exposure to the occupation and cholesterol levels. Model A and Model B also tested for any interactions between: birth weight/occupation exposure and sex; and birth weight/occupation exposure and parish of residence at birth (as a marker of parish of residence during the occupation and related variation in the severity of food deprivation). Results: Before (and after) adjusting for potential confounders, no statistically significant relationships were observed between either birth weight (before adjustment: 0.09 mmol/l per kg increase, 95% CI: -0.30, 0.16; after adjustment: 0.08 mmol/l per kg increase, 95%CI: -0.17, 0.34) or exposure to the occupation (before adjustment: 0.01 mmol/l for exposed group, 95%CI: -0.24, 0.27; after adjustment: 0.04 mmol/l for exposed group, 95%CI: -0.26, 0.33) and cholesterol levels in later life. There was also little evidence of significant relationships between birth weight, exposure to the occupation and cholesterol levels in later life when Model A and Model B were stratified by sex or parish of residence at birth, although there was a significant positive relationship between birth weight and cholesterol levels in women (0.44 mmol/l per kg increase, 95%CI: 0.07, 0.81). Conclusions: These analyses provide little support for the theory that birth weight is inversely related to cholesterol levels in later life. and do not offer any evidence in support of a relationship between undernutrition in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood and cholesterol levels in later life. However, further research may determine whether undernutrition at different stages of the life-course may influence cholesterol levels in later life.
Over the past 60 years there have been fundamental changes in the quality and quantity of food available to us as a nation. The character, growing method, preparation, source and ultimate presentation of basic staples have changed significantly to the extent that trace elements and micronutrient contents have been severely depleted. This trend, established in a review of the 5th Edition of McCance & Widdowson's The Composition of Foods, is still apparent in this review of the 6th edition of the same work. Concurrently there has been a precipitous change towards convenience and pre-prepared foods containing saturated fats, highly processed meats and refined carbohydrates, often devoid of vital micronutrients yet packed with a cocktail of chemical additives including colourings, flavourings and preservatives. It is proposed that these changes are significant contributors to rising levels of diet-induced ill health. Ongoing research clearly demonstrates a significant relationship between deficiencies in micronutrients and physical and mental ill health.
In 1927 a study at King's College, University of London, of the chemical composition of foods was initiated by Dr McCance to assist with diabetic dietary guidance. The study evolved and was then broadened to determine all the important organic and mineral constituents of foods, it was financed by the Medical Research Council and eventually published in 1940. Over the next 51 years subsequent editions reflected changing national dietary habits and food laws as well as advances in analytical procedures. The most recent (5th Edition) published in 1991 has comprehensively analysed 14 different categories of foods and beverages. In order to provide some insight into any variation in the quality of the foods available to us as a nation between 1940 and 1991 it was possible to compare and contrast the mineral content of 27 varieties of vegetable, 17 varieties of fruit, 10 cuts of meat and some milk and cheese products. The results demonstrate that there has been a significant loss of minerals and trace elements in these foods over that period of time. It is suggested that the results of this study cannot be taken in isolation from recent dietary, environmental and disease trends. These trends are briefly mentioned and suggestions are made as to how the deterioration in the micronutrient quality of our food intake may be arrested and reversed.
The 1970s were a decade of achievement in child nutrition in Britain. Substantial changes in infant feeding practices occurred and they were followed by measurable improvements in child health. The 1980s have not maintained this momentum. Infant nutrition is often still seen solely in terms of the breast/bottle debate. Doubtful practices, such as the use of skimmed milk and goats' milk early in life, have become more common. Many weanlings still experience frank nutritional deficiencies. For the 1990s there are 3 priorities: effective continuing measurements of the state of nutritional health in British children are required; among the many methods for promoting nutritional wellbeing health education is vital but professionally we need to deliver the same not conflicting messages; mechanisms for applying any method must acknowledge that nutrition is only one aspect of child health to be promoted and that other agencies such as the food industry and central government can make a valuable contribution when we all act in concert.
In an attempt to change the dietary behaviours of the population (and reduce the incidence of diet-related disease), governments and health authorities in Australia have developed Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines have been communicated to the wider society through a range of channels, such as health promotion programs and education campaigns. Studies conducted during the 1980's suggested that up to 30 percent of the population were engaging in food-related behaviours consistent with dietary guideline recommendations, although the extent of compliance varied by population sub-group (eg women and high socioeconomic groups were more likely to comply). More recent research has suggested that compliance with some of the guideline recommendations has increased, although disparities between population sub-groups remain. The aim of this present study is to determine the extent of compliance with the Australian Dietary Guidelines in the early 1990's, and thereby (indirectly) assess the degree to which health promotion efforts have affected the dietary behaviours of the population. The study is based on a representative sample (n = 403, 80.6% response rate) of Brisbane city. Overall, it was estimated that between 40 and 60 percent of the population were regularly engaging in food behaviours consistent with guideline recommendations. This rate of compliance, however, differed markedly depending on the type of behaviour being examined, and it varied significantly (albeit modestly) across different population sub-groups. It is concluded that health promotion has influenced the population's dietary behaviours, although traditional beliefs and attitudes also inform our food behaviours to a considerable extent.
Background: Aging is associated with increased local inflammation and resultant proteolysis in skeletal muscle. In animal models, soy supplementation is a beneficial countermeasure against muscle inflammation and proteolysis; however, the effect on aging humans is not clear. Methods: A single-blinded, randomized, controlled trial was conducted on 31 post-menopausal women. Volunteers were randomly assigned to consume three servings of soy (n=16) or dairy (n=15) milk each day for 28 days. The expression of inflammation-responsive (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6) and proteolytic (calpain 1, calpain 2, ubiquitin, E2, atrogin-1, muRF-1) genes in skeletal muscle was determined using real-time polymerase chain reaction before and after supplementation, and then after a downhill run performed to elicit muscle damage. Results: While no group by time interactions were observed, significant main effects for time were observed for IL-1β, IL-6, calpain 2, and atrogin-1 mRNA post exercise. Further analysis revealed that, compared with post-supplementation values, calpain 2 and atrogin-1 mRNA significantly increased at 4 h post exercise (p=0.01 and p<0.01, respectively), whereas IL-1β and IL-6 mRNA significantly decreased at 4 h post exercise (both p<0.01). Conclusions: Soy or dairy milk supplementation at the amount ingested for 28 days does not appear to preferentially inhibit the expression of inflammation-responsive and proteolytic genes that were assessed, and does not attenuate the eccentric exercise-induced up-regulation in the proteolytic genes.
This study aims to determine the effectiveness of exclusive breastfeeding of newborns in maintaining a normal blood glucose level in the first 48 hours of life. One hundred and twelve consecutive newborns were initially recruited and 91 completed the study. All neonates of mothers with complicated pregnancy such as diabetes, hypertension and infections were excluded from the study. Maternal and cord glucose estimation were carried out within 30 minutes of delivery. All mothers were assisted in positioning and attaching their babies to the breast. All newborn were weighed and glucose levels were measured at 24 and 48 hours of life before breastfeeding. All mothers were euglycaemic while seven neonates had plasma glucose level less than 1.7 mmol/l at birth. Only one neonate had persistent hypoglycemia from birth to 12 hours of age and required treatment. All other neonates had blood glucose level above 1.7 mmol/l at 24 and 48 hours of life. The weight loss was 0.176 ± 0.134 kg and 0.211 ± 0.157 kg at 24 and 48 hours respectively. We therefore conclude that the exclusively breastfed newborns have adequate glucose supply and are not at risk of having hypoglycemia in the first 48 hours of life.
Children with untreated coeliac disease are characteristically unhappy and after a few days of treatment with a gluten-free diet their mood improves. This improvement in mood can be rapidly reversed by introducing gluten into their diet again which suggests that a humoral agent could be involved in this process. As serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain and abnormalities of serotonin metabolism have been reported in coeliac disease, this biogenic amine could be the humoral agent that mediates the changes of mood in coeliac disease. In this review the relationship between the mood changes in coeliac disease and serotonin metabolism will be further examined.
My brief is to discuss maternal diabetes and its implications for birth defects. The perinatal mortality in Britain has fallen in the last 70 years from 60 per 1000 live births to less than 10. For the baby of the diabetic mother there has been a more dramatic decrease from 249 per thousand live births reported by Peel and Oakley in 1949 to approximately 30 in the Swedish cohort in 1993. However even in countries such as Sweden with one of the lowest figures there is still a three fold higher perinatal mortality for the baby of the diabetic mother compared with the background population. There has been a much less dramatic decrease in the incidence of congenital malformations. Peel and Oakley reported an incidence of 6.9% in 1949, and Hanson from Sweden in 1993 reported only a marginally lower incidence of 6.1%. Recent observations indicate that gestational diabetes (GDM) may be associated with increased incidence of fetal malformation and perinatal mortality. The most frequent and significant morbidity is fetal macrosomia, which in turn is associated with increased risk of birth injuries and asphyxia, (Persson and Hanson. 1998). Detection and definition of congenital malformation vary but in spite of this and the much better maternal diabetic control, congenital malformation today forms a major cause of the perinatal morbidity and mortality.
A survey of dietary habits of 83 male and 35 female volunteers from rural villages around Maradi, southern Niger, revealed that fura and tuwo were basic staples, the former being consumed up to 21 times weekly and the latter about once daily. Local recipes were modified to incorporate a prospective new food, Acacia colei seed flour, at 0, 15 and 25% (w/w) and the resulting diets fed ad libitum to volunteers for three weeks under controlled conditions. Acacia incorporation at 25% increased the crude protein content of most meals and the per capita crude protein intake to 136 g/day, 56% above the control. Lipid intake was similar in the three trial groups. Dietary fibre intake and per capita energy consumption for the 25% acacia diet was 93% and 18% above the control respectively. Daily vitamin consumption was above RDA from all the diets. The results showed that the supplementation of the traditional foods of the people of Maradi with acacia increased the nutritional value of each food.
'Doli Ki Roti'-an indigenously fermented bread popular among the Indian Punjabi community who migrated from Pakistan during partition, is a wheat based product having spiced chickpea as stuffing. It contains a good blend of cereal and legume protein (14.5 to 17.1%), fat (7.3 to 9.2%) and ash (3.8 to 4.7%). It is a good source of dietary essential minerals, i.e. calcium (52.7 to 62.6 mg/100 g), iron (8.7 to 10.6 mg/100 g) and phosphorus (313.8 to 346.7 mg/100 g). The antinutrients like phytic acid and trypsin inhibitors are present in considerable amounts in the unfermented bread but are reduced to the extent of 5 to 18% (phytic acid) and 49 to 70% (trypsin inhibitors) due to the fermentation carried out at 35 and 40 degrees C for varying time periods. The products developed were organoleptically acceptable in terms of colour, taste, texture, flavour, etc.
Some recipes consumed during lactation were, for the first time, standardized, and analysed for nutritional composition and organoleptic evaluation. Results revealed that protein, fibre and ash contents were maximum in Ajwain (omum seeds). The total Ca, Fe, Zn, Cu and P was also highest in Ajwain followed by Gond Panjiri, Kangni and Halwa. The available minerals were also higher in Ajwain as compared to other foods. The in vitro protein and starch digestibility was in the range of 55.97 to 75.30 and 43.56 to 47.57 per cent, respectively, in different traditional supplementary foods. Organoleptically, all the foods prepared were found to be acceptable in terms of colour, flavour, taste, texture and appearance.
In Japan, the modern school lunch system was improved after the establishment of the school lunch law in 1954, and now over 98% of boys and girls in primary schools and over 85% of junior high school pupils have lunch at their schools. In this report, the beneficial effect of this system is pointed out. This system contributes to an improvement of the physical condition of these children and it is very effective for improving the relationship between teachers and children. Knowledge concerning food, nutrition and food hygiene has also improved.
Fats in fish and marine animals are rich in highly unsaturated fatty acids (FA with 5 or more double bonds) of the Omega 3 series. These FA, present in aquatic animals as an adaptation to the environmental conditions, reached the human diet through the food chain, with a significant impact on nutrition, life style and cultural conditions. Studies in the 70's showed that high fish consumption is associated with better cardiovascular health and this observation was subsequently confirmed in many studies (epidemiological, cohort, case-control). The evidence is stronger for secondary prevention and when the intakes of fish or omega 3 FA are assessed, rather than just estimated. The major effects are reduction of cardiac, especially sudden, death. Underlying mechanisms concern the antiarrhythmic activities, reduction of thrombotic and inflammatory processes and of serum triacylglycerol levels. In conclusion consumption of fish and its components should be promoted on a global scale especially in the case of subjects with cardiovascular problems. Although still some issues need to be faced especially in large scale interventions (i.e. the assessment of the omega 3 fatty acid status, correlations between levels and cardiovascular indexes and bioavailability of different forms of administration), these recommendations are highly valuable.
Two varieties of Pleurotus sajor-caju, obtained from the wild and cultivated (on shredded corncobs) were separated into cap and stalk and analysed on dry weight basis. The proximate composition (g/100 g) showed that both varieties were highly concentrated in crude protein. The cultivated cap (Cc) was found to accumulate higher concentration of crude protein (26.34%) and ash (10.37%) than the wild cap (Wc), which had higher crude fat (3.90%) and crude fibre (16.32%) concentrations while the wild stalk (Ws) contained the highest concentration of crude fibre (26.14%). Amino acid analysis showed the mushroom protein to be a rich source of nutritionally useful essential amino acids with leucine as the most abundant occurring in highest concentration (mg/g) in the Cc (64.8 +/- 0.24). Methionine and cysteine concentrations were low as confirmed by their chemical scores (0.29-0.59). There was a significant difference (P<0.05) in the distribution of amino acids in the mushroom varieties and parts. The total essential amino acid (TEAA) in the cultivated range between 42.91-43.69% while in the wild it was between 42.90-43.73 % of the total amino acid content. The amino acid concentration was a function of mushroom variety and part selected.
Selected fish oils are the main industrial sources of PUFAs. However, this oil may be insufficient in the future to meet the expected growth in world demand for n-3 fatty acids (Tacon, 1995). Refined oils produced by marine microalgae represent potential sources of supplemental dietary fatty acids. This study examines the lipid and fatty acid composition of three microalgae that were isolated from the costal waters of Tunisia with particular interest on the variability of composition related to the cellular growth stage.
The field of omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies as reversible risk factors in major psychiatric disorders has flourished in the last decade. Treatment recommendations of the American Psychiatric Association may be considered for application to more normative states of psychiatric health. Considered here is the proposition that an increased risk of personality disorders, and an increased sense of despair in normative populations, might be considered as symptoms of deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids. The major changes in the essential fatty acid composition of the food supply, including increased availability of the omega-6 linoleic acid, may be correlated not only with increased risks of homicide, but also increased risks of suicide and suboptimal social cohesion.
Total lipid and fatty acid composition was determined in the muscle and by-products (heads, shells and tails) of Penaeus kerathurus and Metapenaeus monoceros caught off the North and South coasts of Tunisia. Shrimp total lipid levels in by-products ranged between 2 to 3.15% (p < 0.05) and were higher than fat tissue levels in both groups. No significant difference was found between tissue and by-product lipid contents of M.monoceros from both regions. However, significantly higher lipid content was found in P.kerathurus from the South than the North area. The percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids were important in the tissues and by-products of both species from both regions. Thus, polyunsaturated fatty acids constitute the major fraction followed by saturated fatty acids and monounsaturated. The main fatty acids in both shrimp species muscle and by-products were C16:0, C20:5n-3, C22:6n-3, C18:1n-9, C18:0, C16:1, C20:4 and C18:1n-7.
The aim of this work was to investigate biochemical differences between Octopus vulgaris caught off costal zone and from the deep-sea of the Golf of Gabès (South coast of Tunisia). In both fishing grounds, octopus total lipids constituted almost 1.5% of wet tissue showing no significant difference (p < 0.05). The percentage distribution of fatty acids was not significantly different, neither between males and females, nor between both areas. Polyunsaturated fatty acids constituted about 50 % of the total fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic (DHA; C22:6 omega 3), eicosapentaenoic (EPA; C20:5 omega 3) and the arachidonic acids (C20:4) were the most important of this group with percentages of 25, 14 and 10% respectively. The saturated fraction constituted almost 30% of the total fatty acids. The most dominant saturated fatty acids were palmitic acid (C16:0) and stearic acid (C18:0), with 18% and 7% respectively. The monounsaturated content was found to contribute only 10% of the total fatty acids. Most of the monounsaturated fat was present as oleic acid (C18:1) and palmitoleic acid (C16:1) with 2.5% and 1.5% respectively. The presence of arachidonic acid in substantial proportions with an omega 3 to omega 6 ratios of 3.9 to 1 is of special interest because of the role of cephalopods in the traditional Mediterranean diet.
A growing awareness and understanding of the profiles of local children in County Durham, UK, experiencing learning and behavioural difficulties throughout the education system, has resulted in a number of school based nutritional intervention studies being undertaken. Evidence suggests that some children and young adults with developmental difficulties have a deficiency of particular omega 3 and omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and supplementation with these nutrients can have an impact on their behaviour, concentration and performance on standardised assessments. The first randomised placebo controlled trial to be carried out on children in Durham with developmental coordination disorder has demonstrated significant effects of fatty acid supplementation on behaviour, reading and spelling performance. We are conducting further scientific studies within Durham and neighbouring Authorities in the North of England to be published at a future time. We have also carried out a number of open label treatment studies within schools to help us understand better the role that nutritional intervention can play across a broader range of age groups and abilities. The results suggest positive outcomes for a substantial proportion of children who are more able to engage with the educational opportunities presented to them. This is an important finding to be shared with educationalists, health professionals and importantly the parents.
Three newly high yielding cultivars, Jwala, RMO 225 and RMO 257, together with one local variety commonly used by the farmers of the area were studied.
While India has made rapid strides in building its medical manpower and medical service, yet many of the major health problems are far from being controlled. Although earlier Health problems have not been resolved, newer threats to health through misguided development are getting superadded. The major health threats today are the denial of minimal sustenance base, such as adequate food and water to an increasing number of people. The rapidly increasing uncontrolled chemicalization of body and environment is another health hazard. Experience has shown that health needs cannot be satisfied merely by expansion of the medical industry. Health care work would have to involve an attempt to arrest the growing threats to health and survival, and rebuilding of the ecological base, to ensure provision of basic needs to all. These efforts would be towards a new economics, because they include radical shifts in food agriculture policy, resources use policy, industrial policy etc and can only be guided by a deep sense of social justice and human concern. Contemporary health care work has increasingly to involve those who are already looking for alternatives e.g. those involved in ecology movements, feminist movement, peace and civil rights groups, those involved in alternative education, agriculture, health care journalism. Priority has to be given and strategies evolved to help add a health dimension, to various health or non health work and initiatives already existing, with a special effort to safeguard the traditional health care knowledge systems from total disintegration. Grass root level feed back should constitute an essential pre-requisite for any (health) policy formulation and its implementation.
Anaemia among preschool children in the Arab Gulf countries using haemoglobin criteria (Hb<llg/dl) 
Anaemia, especially iron deficiency anaemia, has been considered one of the main public health problems in the Arab Gulf countries. This paper explores the magnitude of the problem and factors that contribute to the high prevalence of anaemia in these countries. The prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia among preschool children ranged from 20% to 67%, while that among school children ranged from 12.6% to 50%. The percentage of pregnant women who suffered from this anaemia ranged from 22.7% to 54%. Infant feeding practices, food habits, parasitic infection, parity, early age at marriage, and geographical location are among the most important factors associated with iron deficiency anaemia in this region. Programmes to prevent and control this anaemia, are urgently needed.
Sociocultural factors affecting malnutrition in over one thousand under fives living in villages and towns located in northeastern Nigeria were examined. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire and through examination of the children. The study showed that about a third of the children were malnourished. The observed malnutrition was higher among females. The age group most affected was 25-36 months. Poor weaning and food supplementation exerted the strongest influence on the nutritional status of the children whose diet consisted mainly of cereals. It is suggested that local but largely ignored protein sources should be given more attention. Adequate health education to mothers is essential especially in providing information on appropriate nutrition for the child that has just been weaned.
With optimal pregnancy conditions (natural, enriched diet which includes fish) African (Digo) infants are 3–4 weeks ahead of European/American infants in sensorimotor terms at birth, and during the first year. Infants of semi-aquatic sea-gypsies swim before they walk, and have superior visual acuity compared with us. With adverse pregnancy behaviour (fear of fat, a trend to dieting), neglecting the need for brain fat to secure normal brain development and function, we run a risk of dysfunction—death. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome victims have depressed birth weight, lower levels of marine fat in brainstem than controls, and >80% suffer multiple hypoxic episodes prior to death. Depressed birth weight (more than 10% below mean) is seen in learning and behaviour disorders, and a trend towards weights of less than 3kg is increasing, which supports a rise in antenatal sub optimality. Given marine fat deficiency in pregnancy and infancy, neurons starved for fuel could delay myelination and maturation in the latest developed Frontal Lobes. The phylogenetic oldest Lateral Frontal Lobe System (feed-back mechanism etc.) derived from olfactory bulbamygdala, which crosses in Anterior Commisure is probably spared, while the Medial Frontal Lobe System derived from Hippocampus-Cingulum and crosses in Corpus Callosum (delayed response task) is most likely affected. The rise in infantile autism (intact vision and hearing) with deficit in delayed response task only, could suggest a deficit in the Medial Frontal Lobe System. The human species is unique; 70% of total energy to the foetus goes to development of the brain, which mainly consists of marine fat. It undergoes pervasive regressive events, before birth, in infancy and at puberty. Minimal retraction of neuronal arborisation is advantageous. Attributable to adverse pregnancy—childrearing practice, excessive retraction is likely prenatally and in infancy. Pubertal age affects the fundamental property of nervous tissue, excitability: excessive excitatory drive is seen in early, and a deficiency in late puberty. It is postulated that with adequate marine fat, there is probably no risk of psychopathology at the extremes, whereas a deficiency could lead to paroxysmal (subcortical) dysfunction in early puberty, and breakdown of cortical circuitry and cognitive dysfunctions in late puberty. The post-pubertal psychoses, schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis at the extremes of the pubertal age continuum, with contrasting excitability and biological treatment, are probably the result of continuous dietary deficiency, which has inactivated the expression of genes for myelin development and oligodendrocyte-related genes in their production of myelin. The beneficial effect of marine fat in both disorders, in other CNS disorders as well as in developmental dyslexia (DD) and ADHD among others, supports our usual diet is persistently deficient. We have neglected the similarity of our great brain to other mammals, and our marine heritage. Given the amount of marine fat needed to secure normal brain development and function is not known, nor the present dietary level, it seems unduly conjectural to postulate that a dietary deficiency in marine fat is causing brain dysfunction and death. However, all observations point in the same direction: our diet focusing on protein mainly, is deficient, the deficiency is most pronounced in maternal nutrition and in infancy. Human nature is unique in a mismatch between what our brain needs and the usual diet.
The present mismatch between what our brain needs, and the modern diet neglects our marine heritage. Last century, the priority in nutrition and food production was to achieve a high protein diet and somatic growth and function. The dietary content of omega-3 (N-3) required by the brain was neglected although evidence for the essentiality of certain fatty acids was published in 1929 and specifically re-affirmed for omega 3 in the brain in the 1970s. Cognitive decline with age and neurodegenerative disorder with dementia are now rising. This review describes signs of N-3 deficit in Alzheimer and Parkinson Disease, where maximum change involves the primary sites: olfactory cortex and the hippocampus. The olfactory agnosia observed in schizophrenia supports an N-3 deficit as does a reduction of key ologodendrocyte- and myelin-related genes in this disorder and affective disorder, where a rise in dementia accords with a deficit of N-3 also in this disorder. N-3 normalizes cerebral excitability at all levels. That the two disorders are localized at the extremes of excitability, is supported by their opposing treatments: convulsant neuroleptics and anti-epileptic antidepressants. An adequate N-3 diet will probably prevent most psychotic episodes and prove that neurodegenerative disorder with dementia is also to a large extent not only preventable but avoidable.
The number of people who avoid eating meat is growing, especially among young people. Benefits to health from a vegetarian diet have been reported in adults but it is not clear to what extent these benefits are due to diet or to other aspects of lifestyles. In children concern has been expressed concerning the adequacy of vegetarian diets especially with regard to growth. The risks/benefits seem to be related to the degree of restriction of he diet; anaemia is probably both the main and the most serious risk but this also applies to omnivores. Vegan diets are more likely to be associated with malnutrition, especially if the diets are the result of authoritarian dogma. Overall, lacto-ovo-vegetarian children consume diets closer to recommendations than omnivores and their pre-pubertal growth is at least as good. The simplest strategy when becoming vegetarian may involve reliance on vegetarian convenience foods which are not necessarily superior in nutritional composition. The vegetarian sector of the food industry could do more to produce foods closer to recommendations. Vegetarian diets can be, but are not necessarily, adequate for children, providing vigilance is maintained, particularly to ensure variety. Identical comments apply to omnivorous diets. Three threats to the diet of children are too much reliance on convenience foods, lack of variety and lack of exercise.
Top-cited authors
Michael Crawford
  • Imperial College London
Ebenezer Olabamiji Ojofeitimi
  • Ladoke Akintola University of Technology
Abdulrahman Musaiger
  • Arab Center for Nutrition
Johannes Brug
  • National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
Patricia Van Assema
  • Maastricht University