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Maternal Nutrition and Cognition

  • Rachael M. Taylor
  • Roger Smith
  • Clare E. Collins
  • Alexis J. Hure
Chapter
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)

Abstract

Adequate nutrition during early life is essential to support the neurological processes that underlie human brain development and cognition. Children who fail to meet their cognitive potential achieve fewer schooling years and are at an increased risk of adult delinquency. Maximising child cognition through nutrition interventions hold major socioeconomic consequences for individuals and societies. Recent studies suggest that brain development and cognition can be modified by nutrient and gene interactions, a process called epigenetics. DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that requires dietary nutrients to donate methyl groups to DNA nucleotides and modify the regulation of gene expression. Recent studies have demonstrated that epigenetic modifications mediated by DNA methylation can disrupt cell signalling molecules and increase neurotoxins in the brain which may affect cognitive function. Future research in this area is warranted to determine the critical role of early life nutrition on long-term brain future and inform dietary guidelines for pregnant women.

Keywords

Child Brain Cognition Development DNA methylation Epigenetics Infant Nutrition Pregnancy Supplement 

Abbreviations

5-MTHF

5-methyltetrahydrofolate

5,10-MeTH

Methylenetetrahydrofolate

ACh

Acetylcholine

ATP

Adenosine triphosphate

BER

Base excision repair

CHT

Choline transporter

DHF

Dihydrofolate

DHFR

Dihydrofolate reductase

DTI

Diffusion tensor imaging

DMG

Dimethylglycine

Dnmts

DNA methyltransferase

g

Grams

HDAC

Histone deacetylase complexes

HM

High methionine

HM/LF

High methionine/low folate

IAP

Intracisternal A-type particle

IGF-2

Insulin-like growth factor-2

Kg

Kilograms

LF

Low folate

MECPs

Methyl-CpG-binding proteins

mg

Milligrams

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging

mmol/l

Millimoles per litre

MTHF

Methyltetrahydrofolate

MTHFR

Methyltetrahydrofolate reductase

SAH

S-adenosylhomocysteine

SAM

S-adenosylmethionine

SNPs

Single nucleotide polymorphisms

THF

Tetrahydrofolate

μg

Micrograms

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachael M. Taylor
    • 1
  • Roger Smith
    • 2
  • Clare E. Collins
    • 3
  • Alexis J. Hure
    • 4
  1. 1.Mothers and Babies Research Centre, University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of EndocrinologyJohn Hunter Hospital, Mothers and Babies Research Centre, University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  3. 3.Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and NutritionUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  4. 4.Priority Research Centre for Gender, Health and AgeingUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia

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