Navigation Links
Childhood malnutrition could weaken brain function in elderly

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- Malnutrition early in life appears to diminish brain function in older adulthood, according to a study led by a Michigan State University researcher that has implications for many poor, developing nations.

The study of more than 15,000 elderly people in China suggests that fighting hunger throughout childhood not only saves lives and improves health but also may enhance cognitive well-being in late life. The study appears in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

Across the world, 178 million children under age 5 are stunted or short in stature due to hunger, infection or both, said Zhenmei Zhang, MSU assistant professor of sociology and lead researcher on the project.

"It's important for policymakers to know that investing in children really has long-term benefits, not only for those individuals but for society as a whole," Zhang said. "For example, fighting childhood hunger can reduce future medical expenditures. It's very expensive for families and society to take care of people who suffer from dementia or cognitive impairment."

Zhang said researchers previously have focused on how childhood malnutrition affects physical health and mortality, with little attention devoted to the long-term, negative effects on brain development and function.

Zhang and colleagues from Portland State University and the University of Texas examined the data of 15,444 elderly people who participated in the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, which is funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The survey included a screening test for cognitive impairment, measurements of arms and lower legs (which indicate childhood malnutrition or infection) and a question on childhood hunger.

According to the study, women who suffered from childhood hunger were 35 percent more likely to have cognitive impairment at age 65 or older, while men who suffered from childhood hunger had a 29 percent higher chance.

Zhang said understanding the effects of childhood malnutrition is especially important for developing countries such as China, where a large proportion of older adults lived in poverty when they were children.

"The older Chinese population examined in this study experienced childhood hunger on a scale unmatched in the United States," Zhang said. "Many of China's surviving older individuals suffered from severe hunger and devastating wars in their childhood. Before 1949, for example, life expectancy in China was 35 years."


Contact: Zhenmei Zhang
Michigan State University

Related medicine news :

1. Review Spotlights Clues to Serious Childhood Infection
2. 32 Clear Channel Radio Stations Nationwide Unite to Fight Childhood Cancer February 11-12
3. Fewer Childhood Deaths From Rheumatic Disease
4. Some Childhood Cancer Survivors Face More Challenges at School
5. Mount Sinai finds prenatal exposure to certain chemicals affects childhood neurodevelopment
6. News brief: Childhood survivors of CNS cancers and leukemia have lowered educational attainment
7. Childhood obesity alone may increase risk of later cardiovascular disease
8. St. Jude and Washington University team to unravel genetic basis of childhood cancers
9. Scientists discover cells critical to childhood leukemia
10. New research will examine link between childhood asthma, sleep and school performance
11. Team finds childhood clues to adult schizophrenia
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Childhood malnutrition could weaken brain function in elderly
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method ... —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a ... such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain ... following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that ... chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent ... special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their pencils ... an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a genetic ... 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Maryland (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Angels is actively feeding the Frederick area economy by obtaining investment capital for ... over the past 2½ years that have already resulted in more than a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... and BOGOTA, Colombia , June 23, 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas ... Brasil as the company,s second affiliate in Latin America . ... ... of Astellas Farma Colombia ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... The vast majority of dialysis patients currently ... are usually 3 times a week, with treatment times ... time, equipment preparation and wait time.  This regimen can ... patients who are elderly and frail.  Many elderly dialysis ... centers for some duration of time. Residents ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 The Biotechnology ... continues to present great opportunities to investors. assesses ... Intrexon Corp. (NYSE: XON ), Vertex Pharmaceuticals ... (NASDAQ: ARNA ), and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... stocks and receive your complimentary trade alerts at: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: