Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    The art of being small : brain-body size scaling in minute parasitic wasps
    Woude, Emma van der - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): M. Dicke, co-promotor(en): H.M. Smid. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463436564 - 231
    brain - insects - neurons - scaling - cognitive development - vespidae - parasitoid wasps - cum laude - hersenen - insecten - neuronen - schaalverandering - cognitieve ontwikkeling - vespidae - sluipwespen

    Haller’s rule states that small animals have relatively larger brains than large animals. This brain-body size relationship may enable small animals to maintain similar levels of brain performance as large animals. However, it also causes small animals to spend an exceptionally large proportion of energy on the development and maintenance of energetically expensive brain tissue. The work that is presented in this thesis reveals how the smallest animals face the challenge to maintain ecologically required levels of cognitive performance, while being limited by small numbers of neurons and a restricted energy balance. Developing into a small adult has cognitive costs for the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis, and relative brain size is strongly constrained in this species. The extremely small parasitic wasp Trichogramma evanescens forms an exception to Haller’s rule by showing isometric brain-body size scaling. Miniaturized insect species may apply this strategy to avoid the excessive energetic costs of relatively large brains, thereby achieving smaller brain and body sizes than would be possible in the situation that is described by Haller’s rule. This brain-scaling strategy does not result in affected memory performance of small T. evanescens compared to larger individuals, and appears to be facilitated by a large flexibility in the size of neural components, rather than in their number or structural complexity. Maintaining neural complexity may the underlying mechanism that maintains the cognitive abilities of the smallest brains, possibly at the cost of reduced longevity as a consequence of the small size of neuronal cell bodies. This strategy could form the art of being small.

    Monitoringsonderzoek Gezonde Schoolpleinen : monitor van het proces Gezonde Schoolpleinen van 70 Icoonscholen, inspiratie voor een gezond schoolplein en landelijke bekendheid van het proces Gezonde Schoolpleinen
    Goossen, Martin ; Pleijte, Marcel ; Langers, Fransje ; Donders, Josine ; Vries, Sjerp de - \ 2017
    Wageningen : Wageningen Environmental Research (Wageningen Environmental Research rapport 2814) - 89
    basisscholen - kinderen - gebiedsontwikkeling - campus - gezondheid van kinderen - architectuur - ontwerp - sociale gevolgen - cognitieve ontwikkeling - lichamelijke activiteit - gezondheid - elementary schools - children - area development - campus - child health - architecture - design - social impact - cognitive development - physical activity - health
    Effect of iodine supplementation in Indian pregnant women on maternal and newborn thyroid function and cognitive development
    Jaikrishna, N. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Michael Zimmermann, co-promotor(en): Alida Melse-Boonstra; K Srinivasan. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462573338 - 244
    jodium - maternale voeding - zwangerschap - voeding - hypothyreoïdie - schildklierziekten - schildklierwerking - jodiumhoudend zout - minerale supplementen - kenvermogen - cognitieve ontwikkeling - mineraaltekorten - voedingsstoffentekorten - iodine - maternal nutrition - pregnancy - nutrition - hypothyroidism - thyroid diseases - thyroid function - iodized salt - mineral supplements - cognition - cognitive development - mineral deficiencies - nutrient deficiencies

    ABSTRACT

    Background: Iodine is a key nutrient in neurodevelopment, and the fetus is entirely dependent on the iodine intake of the mother to fulfill this important requirement for proper brain function. While this is clearly known, it is uncertain if maternal iodine nutrition should be monitored separately against what is in current practice in public health programs to control iodine deficiency. Also, it is unclear whether it is beneficial to supplement pregnant women with iodine in mild-to moderately iodine deficient and also iodine sufficient areas. Finally, the role of thyroid dysfunction in depression during pregnancy is uncertain.

    Objectives: 1) to determine whether iodine supplementation to pregnant women improves maternal and newborn thyroid function, pregnancy outcome, birth weight, infant growth and cognitive performance; 2) to assess iodine intake and potential determinants of intake, in pregnant women and their children who were sharing all meals; 3) to measure thyroid status during pregnancy and assess potential determinants of maternal thyroid function including iodine status, thyroid autoimmunity, body weight and anemia; 4) to assess the association of maternal depression, and thyroid function during pregnancy.

    Methods: 1) In a randomized placebo controlled trial (RCT), the MITCH (Maternal Iodine Supplementation and its Effects on Thyroid function and CHild Development) study, pregnant women, gestational age ≤14 weeks, in Bangalore, India, were randomized to receive either a daily supplement of 200 µg oral iodine or placebo from enrolment until delivery. Women were followed through delivery, and then with postnatal follow-up of their infants at 6 weeks, 1 and 2 year. Early neonatal development was assessed using the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) at 6 weeks of age; neurocognitive assessment was done using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID III) at 1 and 2 years, and BRIEF-P (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function) at 2 years; 2) A cross-sectional study comparing iodine status of pregnant women and their children, who were sharing all meals in Bangalore, India; 3) A cross-sectional study among 334 pregnant women ≤14 weeks of gestation, in Bangalore, India, who were screened for the RCT; 4) Secondary analysis of the longitudinal data on 318 pregnant women in the RCT.

    Results: 1) In the RCT, there were no significant differences between groups in maternal thyroid function tests or thyroid volume during gestation. The prevalence of thyroid dysfunction or anti-TPO antibodies did not differ significantly during gestation and postpartum. Postpartum, there were no significant differences between the maternal and infant groups in thyroid function, birth outcomes or UIC. Neonates whose mothers received iodine supplementation during pregnancy had better orientation scores at 6 weeks of age and lower scores of inhibition suggesting better executive function at 2 years of age although neurocognitive development on the BSID III were not significantly different between groups; 2) In the pilot study, a) median UIC in pregnant women was 172 µg/L, b) the median UIC was >150 µg/L in all trimesters and c) thyroid size was not significantly different across trimesters; the median UIC in children was 220µg/L, indicating ‘more than adequate’ iodine intake at this age. Median UIC was significantly higher in children than in their mothers (p=0.008). 3) In the cross-sectional study, 21% women were vegetarian, 19% were anemic and 23% were overweight or obese. Iodized salt was used by 98% of women and they were iodine sufficient, median UIC was 184.2 µg/L and all had normal thyroid volume. However, 18% of women had thyroid insufficiency: 3.7% had overt hypothyroidism (83% with positive TPO-Ab), 9.2% had subclinical hypothyroidism and 5.2% had hypothyroxinemia. Women consuming vegetarian diets did not have significantly lower iodine intakes or higher risk of hypothyroidism than those consuming mixed diets, but overweight/obesity and anemia predicted thyroid insufficiency; 4) In the longitudinal study, there was no significant difference in depressive symptoms between the iodine intervention and placebo groups. Women with depressive symptoms had significantly lower serum TSH compared to women without depressive symptoms in the first trimester. Pregnant women with prenatal depressive symptoms had a significantly higher number of medical symptoms.

    Conclusion: 1) Iodine supplementation in mildly iodine deficient and in iodine sufficient pregnant women was well-accepted and safe and did not increase the risk of excess iodine intake, hyper- or hypothyroidism, or thyroid autoimmunity. Though there were no significant effects of iodine supplementation on neonatal and maternal thyroid function and birth outcomes, there were modest effects on neurocognitive development of children as assessed by executive function of children at 2 years. Thus, additional follow-up of these children for neurocognitive testing at a later age when development and cognitive testing is more reliable would provide valuable add on information; 2) The iodized salt program in Bangalore, India was providing adequate iodine to women throughout pregnancy, at the expense of higher iodine intake in their children, suggesting that the current WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD cut-off for median UIC in children indicating more-than-adequate intake may need to be reconsidered; 3) Despite iodine sufficiency, many pregnant women had thyroid insufficiency predicted by low hemoglobin and higher BMI. The prevalence of overt hypothyroidism was >5-fold higher than reported in other iodine-sufficient populations of pregnant women, thus, screening of maternal thyroid function should be considered in antenatal care at hospitals in Bangalore, India; 4) Although iodine supplementation did not affect maternal depression, we highlighted the need for systemic screening for prenatal depression during antenatal visits as it is an independent risk factor for later development of clinical depression

    Control of iron deficiency in the first 1000 days in life: prevention of impaired child development
    Chang, S. - \ 2012
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Frans Kok, co-promotor(en): Inge Brouwer; J. Chen; -- Guansheng Ma. - S.l. : s.n. - ISBN 9789461733825 - 125
    ijzergebrekanemie - peuters en kleuters - zuigelingen - kindervoedering - aanvullende voedingsprogramma's - bijvoeding - voedselsupplementen - fortificatie - china - kinderontwikkeling - cognitieve ontwikkeling - iron deficiency anaemia - preschool children - infants - child feeding - supplemental feeding programs - supplementary feeding - food supplements - fortification - china - child development - cognitive development

    Evidence indicates that the first 1000 days of life (the period from the woman’s pregnancy continuing into the child’s second year) is the most critical period. This is where nutritional deficiencies have a significant and often irreversible adverse impact on child survival and growth affecting their ability to learn in school and productivity in later life. Sufficient iron supply and intake during pregnancy and in children under two years of age are an important component for nutrition interventions during these critical 1000 days. A causal relationship between iron deficiency and poorer brain function has not been demonstrated yet. In addition, there is ample evidence that the high frequency of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in the developing world has substantial health and economic costs. It is therefore of public health significance to explore effective and optimal approaches for iron supplementation and iron fortification among high risk populations (i.e., pregnant women, infants and young children).

    This thesis addresses some of the above outstanding areas, aiming at i) exploring the long-term effect of IDA in pregnancy and IDA in children under 2 years on cognitive and psychomotor function and social emotional behaviour, ii) understanding the impact of prenatal multiple micronutrient supplementation on health outcomes of newborns, and iii) investigating iron absorption from a complementary food fortified with a mixture of FeSO4 and NaFeEDTA.

    The human brain is vulnerable during critical periods of development, including the last trimester of fetal life and the first 2 years of childhood - a period of rapid brain growth termed the “brain growth spurt”. We found that iron deficiency anemia in the third trimester of pregnancy is associated with impaired mental development of the child before 24 months of age. The children whose mothers had iron deficiency anemia showed a significantly lower Mental Development Index (MDI) at 12, 18 and 24 months of age. The adjusted mean difference was 5.8 (95% Confidence interval [CI] 1.1 to 10.5), 5.1 (95% CI 1.2 to 9.0) and 5.3 (95% CI 0.9 to 9.7) respectively. Further analysis showed MDI in the prenatal IDA and non-prenatal IDA groups were similar with supplementation of iron-folic acid (60 mg iron), but significantly lower in the prenatal IDA group with supplementation of folic acid or multiple micronutrients. Prenatal iron supplementation with sufficient iron protects child development even when women’s IDA was not properly corrected during pregnancy (chapter 2).

    In a second study, we compared social emotional affect and behavior of three groups of non-anemic 4-year-old children: children with IDA in infancy whose anemia was not corrected before 24 months (chronic IDA, n=27); children with IDA in infancy whose anemia was corrected before 24 months (corrected IDA, n=70), and children who were non-IDA in infancy and at 24 months (n=64). Children’s social referencing, wariness, frustration tolerance behavior and affect were observed in a laboratory setting. The whole procedure was videotaped. Child affective and behavioral display was coded using a time-sampling (5-second segments) coding scheme. Preschool aged children whohad chronic IDA in the first 2 years of life showed affected social emotional behavior. In contrast, children whose anemia was corrected before 24 months were comparable to children who were non-iron deficient and anemic throughout the first 2 years of life in terms of behavior and affect (chapter 3).

    Overall, our results indicate that adverse effects can be reduced and/or prevented with iron supplementation during critical periods of brain development.WHO recommends universal distribution of iron-folic acid supplements to pregnant women in developing countries to prevent and treat iron deficiency anemia. However, pregnant women are often deficient in several other nutrients concurrently, all of which can negatively affect their own health as well as their infants’ health, growth and development across the life course. Multiple micronutrient supplements containing iron and other micronutrients should be more efficient to help to reduce anemia, because other nutrients often lacking in the diets of pregnant women in poor populations, including vitamin A, riboflavin and vitamin B6 and B12, are also needed for hemoglobin synthesis. Improving maternal status of multiple micronutrients could also benefit pregnancy outcome, infant micronutrient stores at birth and breast milk content of micronutrients.

    In a randomized double blind controlled trial described in chapter 4, we examined the impact of prenatal supplementation with multiple micronutrients or iron-folic acid compared to folic acid alone on birth weight, duration of gestation and maternal hemoglobin concentration in the third trimester. In total 5828 pregnant women were involved. The results suggest multiple micronutrients are as effective as iron folic acid in increasing maternal hemoglobin concentration, birth weight and mean duration of gestation. Our study also shows good adherence can be achieved with multiple micronutrients during pregnancy.

    Using 2000 and 2005 Food and Nutrition Surveillance data, we found that complementary feeding practices are suboptimal in both rural and poor rural areas in China, although significant improvements in practices have been made from year 2000 to year 2005. The percentage of consuming meat/eggs more than 4 times a week among 6-9 months children was only 30%, for other age groups only around 50% or less. The high energy and nutrient requirements relative to body size, the capacity to only consume small amounts of foods indicate that nutrient-dense foods must be provided from 6 months until the second and third year of life. Inclusion of animal products can meet the energy and nutrients gap in some cases, but this increases costs and may not be feasible for the lowest-income groups. Furthermore, the amount of animal products that can feasibly be included are generally not sufficient for iron, calcium and sometimes zinc. Thus strategies to optimize nutrient intake from locally available foods may need to be combined with other approaches such as complementary food fortification in order to fully address the problems of micronutrient malnutrition (chapter 6).

    In-home fortification of complementary food is an effective approach to provide additional iron and other nutrients to infants and young children in developing countries. To determine whether iron absorption is enhanced with a mixture of FeSO4 and NaFeEDTA, we conducted an iron absorption study with a crossover design in two groups with children aged 24 to 31 months. A complementary food consisting of millet porridge with cabbage, tofu, and pork-filled wheat flour dumplings was fortified with 2 mg iron as either FeSO4 or NaFeEDTA (study 1) or 4 mg iron as FeSO4 or a mixture of 2 mg each of FeSO4 and NaFeEDTA (study 2). Iron absorption was determined based on erythrocyte incorporation of stable iron isotopes. In study 1, the geometric mean iron absorption(±SD) was 8.0% (3.1, 20.8) and 9.2% (3.1, 27.0) from food fortified with FeSO4 and NaFeEDTA, respectively. In study 2, iron absorption was significantly higher from food fortified with 4 mg iron as 1:1 mixture of FeSO4/NaFeEDTA than from food fortified with FeSO4 only; the geometric mean iron absorption was 6.4% (3.0, 13.5) and 4.1% (1.9, 8.9), respectively. We concluded that the equal mixture of FeSO4 and NaFeEDTA significantly enhanced iron absorption and can be a strategy to ensure adequate iron absorption from phytate-containing complementary foods (Chapter 5).

    The studies in this thesis provide further evidence on the association between IDA during the first critical 1000 days of live and the long-term impact on child development. Our research results and the meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials (including our trial in China) suggest that the daily provision of multiple micronutrients is an optimal approach for pregnant women in developing countries including China in terms of the health outcome of newborns. The benefits of giving at least 30 mg iron daily to pregnant women shown in our study as well as by others can provide guidance to policy makers on the development of a prenatal nutrient supplementation standard in China. Moreover, enhanced iron absorption from a mixture of FeSO4 and NaFeEDTA as a fortificant supports China’s current practice on the use of NaFeEDTA for in-home fortification of complementary food.Considering our study findings and research by others, the following research is proposed for the near future. 1) Continuing research into the causal relationship of iron deficiency and child behaviour; 2) Developing of better measurement tools to assess child development; 3) Exploring the causality of anemia in the region.

    Encouraging vegetable intake in children : the role of parental strategies, cognitive development and properties of food
    Zeinstra, G.G. - \ 2010
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Kees de Graaf; Frans Kok, co-promotor(en): Maria Koelen. - [S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789085855385 - 200
    groenten - voedselopname - voedselconsumptie - eten - kinderen - schoolkinderen - voedselvoorkeuren - ouderrol - cognitieve ontwikkeling - sensorische evaluatie - vegetables - food intake - food consumption - eating - children - school children - food preferences - parental role - cognitive development - sensory evaluation
    Background
    Despite the health benefits, children’s fruit and vegetable intake is below that
    recommended. This thesis focuses on the role of parental strategies, children’s
    cognitive development and properties of food in order to develop new approaches
    to increase fruit and vegetable preferences and intake in 4 to 12-year-old
    children.
    Methods
    First, we conducted a qualitative study (N=28) with three age groups representing
    different cognitive developmental stages, and a parental survey study (N=242).
    These studies indicated that texture was more important for 4-5-year-old
    children’s food preferences than for 11-12-year olds and that the parental
    strategy of ‘Choice’ was positively related to both children’s fruit and vegetable
    intake. Subsequently, in three intervention studies, the focus was on vegetables
    only, because previous approaches have been less effective for vegetable intake
    than for fruit intake. We investigated three approaches for their effectiveness in
    increasing children’s vegetable acceptance:
    1. Varying the preparation method (4-12y; N=94): Carrots and French
    beans were prepared in six ways: mashed, boiled, steamed, grilled,
    stir-fried and deep-fried.
    2. Flavour-nutrient learning (7-8y; N=19): During a 14-day learning
    period, vegetable flavours were combined with energy (maltodextrin)
    or without energy in a drink.
    3. Choice-offering (4-6y; N=303): Children had no choice, a choice before
    a meal, or a choice during a meal regarding which vegetable out of
    two they were going to eat.
    Results
    Varying the preparation method demonstrated that steamed and boiled were
    preferred over the other preparations (p<0.05). Positive predictors of vegetable
    liking were a uniform surface, the typical vegetable taste and crunchiness,
    whereas brown colouring and a granular texture negatively predicted liking. Due
    to insufficient consumption of the vegetable drinks (≈3 grams of 150 grams),
    flavour-nutrient learning could not take place. The pure vegetable taste was too
    intense. In the choice-offering study, the children appreciated a choice before the
    meal, but the three conditions did not differ for vegetable liking (p=0.43) or intake
    (≈52 gram; p=0.54). In the no-choice condition, high reactant children consumed
    less vegetables than low reactant children (Δ=28 grams; p=0.04).
    Conclusion
    To encourage children’s vegetable liking and intake, the following approaches
    may be most promising: 1) serve vegetables as crunchy as possible without
    brown colouring or a granular texture; 2) provide children with choice during
    vegetable eating; 3) stimulate a positive vegetable-eating context. Finally, serving
    vegetables in mixed dishes is a good way to facilitate flavour-flavour and flavournutrient
    learning, but the effectiveness of flavour-nutrient learning for increasing
    children’s vegetable acceptance needs to be determined in future research.
    Micronutrients, omega-3 fatty acids and cognitive performance in Indian schoolchildren
    Eilander, J.H.C. - \ 2009
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Frans Kok, co-promotor(en): S.J.M. Osendarp; S. Muthayya. - [S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789085854708 - 175
    sporenelementen - meervoudig onverzadigde vetzuren - cognitieve ontwikkeling - mentale vaardigheid - minerale supplementen - fortificatie - ondervoeding - schoolkinderen - india - omega-3 vetzuren - kenvermogen - trace elements - polyenoic fatty acids - cognitive development - mental ability - mineral supplements - fortification - undernutrition - school children - india - omega-3 fatty acids - cognition

    In developing countries, approximately 30-40% of school-age children suffer from iodine and iron deficiencies. Poverty and consumption of monotonous diets are underlying causes of inadequate intakes of micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids and may have severe consequences for children’s cognitive development. Multiple micronutrient interventions have shown to benefit mental performance of children, but a systematic evaluation of the evidence is currently lacking. The omega-3 fatty acid, -linolenic acid (ALA) is converted into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a major structural component of the brain, which is important for normal development and maintenance of brain function. At present, it is unclear whether additional intake of omega-3 fatty acids improves cognitive performance in children.
    The aim of this thesis was to investigate the role of multiple micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive performance in school-age children living in deprived environments, thereby addressing three main research questions.
    The first query concerned the investigation of the size of effects of multiple micronutrient interventions on different cognitive domains. Findings of our meta-analysis comprising 17 studies in children 5-16 years of age, suggested that multiple micronutrients were beneficial for fluid intelligence (i.e. reasoning abilities) (0.14 SD; 95% CI: -0.02, 0.29) and academic performance (0.30 SD; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.58). Crystallized intelligence (i.e. acquired knowledge) seemed not affected (-0.03 SD; 95% CI: -0.21, 0.15) and for the other cognitive domains data were too limited to draw firm conclusions.
    Secondly, we examined the role of omega-3 fatty acids on children’s cognitive development, for which a literature review was conducted. Associations between omega-3 fatty acid status or dietary intake and cognitive performance were investigated by cross-sectional analysis using baseline data of a randomized controlled trial in 598 Indian schoolchildren (see below for details). We found no evidence for a beneficial effect of additional intake of omega-3 fatty acids, and of DHA in particular, on cognitive development in school-age children. Neither there was a significant relationship between omega-3 fatty acid status and cognitive performance.
    Lastly, we studied the effect of different doses of micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids, and their interaction, on cognitive performance. For that purpose, a randomized controlled trial in 598 Indian schoolchildren aged 6-10 years was conducted from November 2005 until March 2007. Children received either 15% or 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of micronutrients in combination with either a low (140 mg ALA) or high dose (900 mg ALA plus 100 mg DHA) of omega-3 fatty acids for 12 months. Cognitive function was measured at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Our results showed that with some small differential effects on short term memory at 6 months (0.11 SD; 95% CI: 0.01-0.20) and fluid intelligence at 6 months (-0.10 SD; 95% CI: -0.17, -0.03) and 12 months (-0.12 SD; 95% CI: -0.20, -0.04), the high and low dose of micronutrients were as effective for improving retrieval ability, cognitive speediness and overall cognitive performance. Neither there were differences between the omega-3 fatty acid treatments, nor an interaction between micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive outcomes.
    In conclusion, although multiple micronutrients may benefit intellectual performance of schoolchildren, development of public health guidelines is currently premature. Further investigation on doses and composition of micronutrients would be needed to identify a cost-effective micronutrient supplement to optimize cognitive performance in children. Presently, no evidence exists for a positive effect of omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive performance in healthy children. A final trial using a higher dose and sufficiently long duration would be needed to conclude whether omega-3 fatty acid supplementation improves mental development at school age.
    Very long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: a head start to win some years between the ears?
    Dullemeijer, C. - \ 2009
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Frans Kok; R.J. Brummer, co-promotor(en): I.A. Brouwer. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789085853770 - 136
    vetzuren met een lange keten - hersenen - cognitieve ontwikkeling - mentale vaardigheid - visoliën - ouderen - vaatziekten - omega-3 vetzuren - kenvermogen - long chain fatty acids - brain - cognitive development - mental ability - fish oils - elderly - vascular diseases - omega-3 fatty acids - cognition
    Very long-chain n-3 (or omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids have attracted considerable public interest during the past few years for their potential beneficial role in cognitive performance. The proposed benefits stretch from advantages in developing brains of infants and children to preventing cognitive decline at old age.
    In this thesis, we first examined the role of very long-chain n-3 PUFA at the beginning of the lifespan. We investigated the effects of dietary very long-chain n-3 PUFA on the fatty acid composition of the several brain lobes in juvenile pigs, and showed that a diet enriched with fish oil resulted in higher proportions of DHA in the frontal, parietal and occipital brain lobes compared with the temporal brain lobe. These findings suggest a region-specific incorporation of DHA in the developing brain, which may guide future research into the mechanism by which very long-chain n-3 PUFA may in involved in brain development and function.
    Subsequently, we investigated the role of very long-chain n-3 PUFA near the end of the lifespan. In a population of older adults, we investigated the association between very long-chain n-3 PUFA and cognitive decline over three years in multiple cognitive domains. We demonstrated that higher plasma proportions of very long-chain n-3 PUFA were associated with less decline in the cognitive domains sensorimotor speed and complex speed, but not in memory, information-processing speed and word fluency, compared with lower plasma proportions of very long-chain n-3 PUFA. These results suggest a beneficial role of very long-chain n-3 PUFA in the speed-related cognitive domains, which justifies future research in this area with sensitive cognitive outcome measurements that provide domain-specific information.
    Finally, we touched upon the role of very long-chain n-3 PUFA in the macrovascular and the microvascular blood supply in the head region. We showed that plasma very long-chain n-3 PUFA were not associated with changes in carotid intima-media thickness and common carotid distension in a healthy older adult population. This may suggest that the role of very long-chain n-3 PUFA in a healthy population extends in particular to the smaller blood vessels. The role of very long-chain n-3 PUFA in the microcirculation of the brain could therefore be an interesting future direction of research. Although we did not directly investigate the role of very long-chain n-3 PUFA in the brain microcirculation, we did investigate whether plasma very long-chain n-3 PUFA were associated with age-related hearing loss over a period of three years in older adults. Since microvascular disease may decrease the blood supply to the highly vascularised cochlea, this may result in age-related hearing loss. We showed that higher plasma proportions of very long-chain n-3 PUFA were indeed associated with less age-related hearing loss compared with lower plasma proportions of very long-chain n-3 PUFA which implies that the hypothesis of improved microcirculation, if proven correct, may have far-reaching consequences.
    In summary, this thesis showed that very long-chain n-3 PUFA have region-specific effects on the developing brain and that higher plasma proportions of very long-chain n-3 PUFA were associated with less decline in the speed-related cognitive domains and less age-related hearing loss. Further research is required to establish the role of very long-chain n-3 PUFA in the developing as well as the aging brain and to investigate the underlying mechanisms.

    “Very long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: a head start to win some years between the ears?” PhD-thesis by Carla Dullemeijer, Top Institute Food and Nutrition and Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands, May 15, 2009
    Determinants of cognitive decline in older European men
    Gelder, B.M. van - \ 2007
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Daan Kromhout, co-promotor(en): M.A.R. Tijhuis; S. Kalmijn. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789085046493 - 157
    cognitieve ontwikkeling - mentale vaardigheid - dieet - ouderen - ouderdom - mannen - europa - kenvermogen - sociale factoren - cognitive development - mental ability - diet - elderly - old age - men - europe - cognition - social factors
    In our ageing population, the number of persons with cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer's disease still increase and cause many problems for the elderly themselves, their relatives and caregivers and for health care. Therefore, the need for preventive action is high. In this thesis we identified social, lifestyle and dietary risk factors for the postponement of cognitive impairment and decline in elderly European men.

    For the results presented in this thesis, data from theFinland,Italyand the Netherlands Elderly (FINE) Study were used. This prospective population-based cohort study was carried out between 1985 and 2000 among 2,285 Finnish, Italian and Dutch men bornbetween 1900 - 1920. Cognitive functioning was measured with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).

    In the FINE Study, cognitive functioning decreased on average with 1.5 points during the 10-year follow-up period. This decline was due to an age effect, but also to a period and birth cohort effect.

    Men who were married or who lived with others during five years had at least a two times smaller subsequent 10-year cognitive decline compared with men who lost a partner, who were unmarried, who started to live alone and who lived alone during these five years.

    Cognitive decline did not differ among men with a high or low duration of physical activity at baseline. However, men who participated in activities with at leasta medium-low intensity had a 1.8 to 3.5 times smaller cognitive decline compared with men who participated in activities with lowest intensity. Moreover, a decrease in duration or intensity of physical activity resulted respectively in a 2.6 or 3.6 times stronger cognitive decline than maintaining duration or intensity.

    Men who consumed coffee had a two times smaller 10-year cognitive decline than non-consumers. In addition, an inverse and J-shaped association between the number of cups of coffee per day consumed and 10-year cognitive decline was present, with the least decline for men consuming three cups of coffee per day.

    Fish consumers had significantly less 5-year subsequent cognitive decline than non-consumers. A linear trend was observed for the relation between the intake of the n-3 fatty acids EPA + DHA and cognitive decline. An average difference of about 380 mg/day in EPA + DHA intake was associated with a 1.1 points difference in cognitive decline.

    Men whose cognition decreased between 1990 and 1995 had a twofold higher risk of dying in the following five years compared with men whose cognition was stable. Mortality risk of men whose cognition improved between 1995 and 2000 was not different from men with a stable cognition.

    The associations between marital status, living situation and physical activity are strong and provide in combination with the existing literature enough evidence for justifying public health recommendations for postponing cognitive decline. However, our findings on coffee and fish consumption and on the intake of the fatty acids EPA + DHA in relation with cognitive functioning need confirmation in other studies.
    Vitamine B12 en cognitieve functies
    Eussen, S.J.P.M. ; Groot, C.P.G.M. de; Hoefnagels, W.H.L. ; Staveren, W.A. van - \ 2004
    Voeding Nu 4 (2004)4. - ISSN 1389-7608 - p. 29 - 31.
    ouderen - vitamine b12 - vitaminetekorten - voedingsstoffentekorten - voedingstoestand - deficiëntie - cognitieve ontwikkeling - mentale vaardigheid - supplementen - toevoegingen - wetenschappelijk onderzoek - elderly - vitamin b12 - vitamin deficiencies - nutrient deficiencies - nutritional state - deficiency - cognitive development - mental ability - supplements - additives - scientific research
    Vitamine B12-deficiëntie is een relatief veel voorkomend probleem bij ouderen. Wageningen Universiteit onderzoekt wat de optimale hoeveelheid vitamine B12 in capsules zou moeten zijn om een vitamine B12-deficiëntie te behandelen en of deze hoeveelheid B12 gunstige effecten heeft op het cognitief functioneren bij ouderen met een vitamine B12-deficiëntie
    From tacit to explicit knowledge in integrative and participatory research
    Tress, G. ; Tress, B. ; Bloemmen, M.H.I. - \ 2003
    Wageningen : WUR-Alterra (Delta series 3) - ISBN 9789080763722 - 148
    kennis - leertheorie - cognitieve ontwikkeling - toegepast onderzoek - participatie - participatief management - ruimtelijke ordening - kennistheorie - knowledge - learning theory - cognitive development - applied research - participation - participative management - physical planning - theory of knowledge
    Effects of Micronutrients during Pregnancy and Early Infancy on Mental and Psychomotor Development
    Verhoef, H. ; West, C.E. ; Bleichrodt, N. ; Dekker, P.H. ; Born, M.P. - \ 2003
    In: Micronutrient Deficiencies in the First Months of Life / Delange, F.M., West, K.P. Jr, Basel : Karger (Nestlé Nutrition workshop series 52) - ISBN 9783805575591 - p. 327 - 357.
    zwangerschap - zuigelingen - maternale voeding - zuigelingenvoeding - sporenelementen - jodium - ijzer - voedingsstoffentekorten - cognitieve ontwikkeling - psychomotorische ontwikkeling - pregnancy - infants - maternal nutrition - infant nutrition - trace elements - iodine - iron - nutrient deficiencies - cognitive development - psychomotor development
    The questions that are addressed in this chapter concern the extent to which a shortage of iodine and iron during fetal and infant development impairs mental development and the extent to which this impairment can be redressed by increasing the intake of these micronutrients
    Agrarisch ondernemerschap in psychologisch perspectief.
    Defares, P.B. - \ 1986
    Wageningen : Wageningen Universiteit - 28
    cognitieve ontwikkeling - agrarische bedrijfsvoering - mentale vaardigheid - ontwikkelingspsychologie - cognitive development - farm management - mental ability - developmental psychology
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