Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Childhood malnutrition could weaken brain function in elderly

Date:
July 3, 2010
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Malnutrition early in life appears to diminish brain function in older adulthood, according to a new study that has implications for many poor, developing nations.

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.

Related Articles


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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Childhood malnutrition could weaken brain function in elderly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701131211.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2010, July 3). Childhood malnutrition could weaken brain function in elderly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701131211.htm
Michigan State University. "Childhood malnutrition could weaken brain function in elderly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701131211.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins