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Tuna fish oil helps premature babies develop normally

Tuna fish oil in high doses helps premature babies develop normally, according to a new study. A six-year study led by Maria Makrides of Women’s & Children’s Health Research Institute and Bob Gibson of University of Adelaide has shown how high doses of fatty acids found in tuna fish oil administered to premature babies can help their mental development.

Researchers found that a major lipid in the brain – the omega-3 fatty acid known as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – is not developed sufficiently in babies born before 33 weeks’ gestation, leading to possible impaired mental development.

To counter this, increased doses of DHA (1,000 mg per day) were administered to lactating mothers with pre-term infants, found in tuna fish oil. If required, infants were given supplementary formula with matching DHA levels.

Of 657 premature babies tested in a trial involving five Australian hospitals, about 50 percent fewer infants on high-DHA diets had significantly delayed mental development compared with low DHA diets. Premature girls in particular who were exposed to DHA-rich diets showed much better mental development than girls fed the low DHA diet.

Vitamin D intake delays onset of diabetes, reduces complications: Adequate vitamin D intake may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and reduce complications for those who have already been diagnosed with the condition. The vitamin is quickly becoming a popular nutrient which has been found to be beneficial in conditions like cancer, osteoporosis and now diabetes.

Vitamin D deficiency also may be associated with hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, hypertension and heart disease. “Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases in particular,” said Sue Penckofer, co-author of a new study on the subject and professor, Loyola University Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

Heavy school bags hard on children: The average school bag load of middle school children is way too heavy and should be reduced for comfort and safety.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine warn that excessive pressure on the shoulder from weighty backpacks may lead to shoulder pain and an uneven backpack load may lead to low back pain in children, Health news reported.

Based on this study the researchers had four recommendations backpacks should be positioned high on the back, backpack straps should be over both shoulders, weight in the backpacks should be minimised and backpacks should have wide straps.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that nearly 7,500 school children are seen in emergency rooms each year due to injuries related to backpacks or book bags. With the help of ten 13-year-old students (five girls and five boys), researchers looked at the backpack weight and how it was distributed with regard to shoulder and back pain. They fitted each child’s backpack with pressure sensors on the shoulder straps. The children wore standard identical backpacks first carrying 10 percent of their body weight, then 20 percent and finally 30 percent of their body weight.

The researchers noted an increase in pain levels with an increase in backpack weight. Specifically, pressures exerted on the shoulder at backpack loads of 20 percent body weight were enough to reduce normal skin and muscle blood flow in that area. Agencies, The Post

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