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Zinc and Maternal-Child Brain Function in Southern Ethiopia

There are two principal aims of this project, each requiring a randomized controlled trial of zinc (Zn) supplements and one nested within the other. The first is to determine the effects of a daily maternal Zn supplement commenced early in the second trimester and continued until 9 months post-partum on maternal cognition and temperament, fetal and infant brain growth, maternal-infant interaction and on cognition and temperament in early-mid infancy. Because of current uncertainty of the optimal dose of maternal Zn supplements, the effects of three different doses of Zn supplement will be compared. All groups will receive a daily multivitamin and energy/protein supplement and the two Zn groups will also receive a copper supplement.

The second principal goal is to determine the effects of a zinc supplement for infants aged 6-9 months, the offspring of each of the maternal intervention groups, on infant cognitive and motor development and on temperament.

 

The principal hypotheses are:
1) Ingestion of a daily Zn supplement commencing early in the second trimester of pregnancy and continuing until 9 months post-partum will be associated with improvements in:

 

 

  • Measures of maternal cognition and emotional behavior
  • Fetal and infant brain growth
  • Maternal-infant interaction
  • Infant neurocognitive, motor development and temperament.
  •  

    2) Ingestion of a modest Zn supplement by infants from 6-9 months of age will be associated with significant improvements of cognition, motor development and temperament at 9 months beyond that achieved with maternal Zn supplementation alone.

    We are now beginning (in the summer of 2008) to enroll mothers for this project. The first infants will be born in the late 2008 and early 2009. We hope to have a total of 900 mothers and their infants.

   

Personnel

 

  • Michael Hambidge, MD, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO
  • Barbara Stoecker, PhD, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • Yewelsew Abebe, PhD, Debub University, Awassa, Ethiopia
  • Ros Gibson, PhD, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Zelalem Kebede, MD, MPH, College of Health Sciences, Debub University, Awassa, Ethiopia
  • Tesfaye Woltomo, MS, Awassa College of Agriculture, Awassa, Ethiopia
  • Girma Abebe, PhD, Debub University, Awassa, Ethiopia
  • Isabel Arbide, MD, Medical Director, Bushulo Major Health Center, Awassa, Ethiopia
  • Laura Hubbs-Tait, PhD, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • Tay Kennedy, PhD, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • David Thomas, PhD, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
  • Bruce Pennington, PhD, Professor, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado
  • Gary Grunwald, PhD, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO

 

This project is supported by National Institutes of Health Grants R21-TW006729 and R01-HD053053-01A1 (Michael Hambidge, PI) funded by the Fogarty International Center, the Office of Dietary Supplements and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.