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New study aims to reduce risk of childhood leukemia
Date:1/25/2009

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Their research will involve working with a group of 1,340 pregnant women. After birth, a blood sample is routinely taken from each newborn baby's heel. It is these samples that will then be tested for DNA changes. By comparing any DNA changes to the levels of caffeine the mother consumed, the team will try to find out if the two are linked.

If a link is discovered, further research would be needed to see whether this meant babies with these DNA changes would be more likely to develop leukaemia, and to examine evidence of exposure to other DNA damaging agents. The study will also collect other lifestyle and dietary data to see if there are other factors which might increase the risk.

Dr. Marcus S. Cooke, of the Leicester Department of Cancer Studies, and the Department of Genetics, will be working with Drs. Roger Godschalk and Sahar Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn-Khosrovani from the Department of Health Risk Analysis and Toxicology, Maastricht University.

This study is not the first research into the link between cancer risk and caffeine. In the past, research has suggested a possible link with cancers of the pancreas and kidney, but after examining all the research, the WCRF/AICR Expert Report found that a substantial effect on risk was unlikely.

The Food Standards Agency advises pregnant women not to consume more than 200mg of caffeine a day which is equivalent to two cups of coffee and WCRF UK supports this advice. Evidence suggests drinking a lot of caffeine during pregnancy could be a factor in low birth weight, which has been linked to future risk of heart disease and diabetes.


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Contact: Dr. Marcus Cooke
msc5@leicester.ac.uk
44-011-625-25825
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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