[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study evaluates the effects of retinol on intestinal barrier function, growth, total parasites, and Giardia spp infections in children in northeastern Brazil.
The study was a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial (http://clinicaltrials.gov; register no. #NCT00133406) involving 79 children who received vitamin A 100,000-200,000 IU (n = 39) or placebo (n = 40) at enrollment, 4, and 8 months and were followed for 36 months. Intestinal barrier function was evaluated using the lactulose:mannitol ratio test. Stool lactoferrin was used as a marker for intestinal inflammation.
The groups were similar with regard to age, sex, nutritional parameters (z scores), serum retinol concentrations, proportion of lactoferrin-positive stool samples, and intestinal barrier function. The lactulose:mannitol ratio did not change during the same time of follow-up (P > 0.05). The proportion of lactoferrin-positive samples evaluated at 1 month did not change between groups (P > 0.05). Total intestinal parasitic, specifically new, infections were significantly lower in the vitamin A treatment compared with control group; these were accounted for entirely by significantly fewer new Giardia infections in the vitamin A treatment group. The cumulative z scores for weight-for-length or height, length or height-for-age z scores, and weight-for-age did not change significantly with vitamin A intervention for 36 months of follow-up.
These data showed that total parasitic infection and Giardia spp infections were significantly lower in the vitamin A treatment group when compared with the placebo group, suggesting that vitamin A improves the host's defenses against Giardia infections.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2010 · Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Worldwide, contaminated drinking water poses a major health threat, particularly to child development. Diarrhoea represents a large part of the water-related disease burden and enteric infections have been linked to nutritional and growth shortfalls as well as long-term physical and cognitive impairment in children. Previous studies detailed the frequency of infection and the consequences for child health in a shanty town in north-east Brazil. To determine the frequency of contaminated water, we measured faecal contamination in primary drinking water samples from 231 randomly selected households. Risk for contamination was compared across source and storage types. Nearly a third of the study households (70/231: 30.3%) had contaminated drinking water; the source with the highest frequency of contamination was well water (23/24: 95.8%). For tap water, the type of storage had a significant effect on the susceptibility to contamination (chi(2) = 12.090; p = 0.007). The observed pattern of contamination demonstrated the relative potential contributions of both source and storage. With evidence that supports the inclusion of source and storage in water quality surveys, this study, like others, suggests that contaminated drinking water in storage vessels may be an important factor for the documented diarrhoea disease burden in the Brazilian shanty town.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Journal of Water and Health