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Food insecurity is associated with adverse health outcomes among human infants and toddlers.

The U.S. Household Food Security Scale, developed with federal support for use in national surveys, is an effective research tool. This study uses these new measures to examine associations between food insecurity and health outcomes in young children. The purpose of this study was to determine whether household food insecurity is associated with adverse health outcomes in a sentinel population ages < or = 36 mo. We conducted a multisite retrospective cohort study with cross-sectional surveys at urban medical centers in 5 states and Washington DC, August 1998-December 2001. Caregivers of 11,539 children ages < or = 36 mo were interviewed at hospital clinics and emergency departments (ED) in central cities. Outcome measures included child's health status, hospitalization history, whether child was admitted to hospital on day of ED visit (for subsample interviewed in EDs), and a composite growth-risk variable. In this sample, 21.4% of households were food insecure (6.8% with hunger). In a logistic regression, after adjusting for confounders, food-insecure children had odds of "fair or poor" health nearly twice as great [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.90, 95% CI = 1.66-2.18], and odds of being hospitalized since birth almost a third larger (AOR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.16-1.48) than food-secure children. A dose-response relation appeared between fair/poor health status and severity of food insecurity. Effect modification occurred between Food Stamps and food insecurity; Food Stamps attenuated (but did not eliminate) associations between food insecurity and fair/poor health. Food insecurity is associated with health problems for young, low-income children. Ensuring food security may reduce health problems, including the need for hospitalizations.

Early weaning and prolonged nursing induce changes in cell proliferation in the gastric epithelium of developing rats.

Food deprivation stimulates cell proliferation in the gastric epithelium of suckling, but not weanling rats. This study was designed to investigate the role of diet on proliferation in developing animals, using early weaning and prolonged nursing models. Rat pups were subjected to these dietary conditions at d 15 and were killed 3 or 7 d afterwards. One day before killing, half of pups were deprived of food. Body weights were recorded. After mitosis blockade, the histologic sections of the stomach were used for the evaluation of cell proliferation and methapasic cell distribution along the gland, and for the measurement of mucosa thickness. Body weight was impaired at 18 d by early weaning and at 22 d by prolonged nursing. Food restriction promoted a 10-15% weight loss regardless of dietary conditions. At 18 d, food deprivation inhibited cell division (P: < 0.01) and reduced the thickness of the mucosa (P: < 0.05) in rats that were weaned early. At 22 d, only the thickness of the mucosa was different between the groups that were subjected to early weaning and prolonged nursing (P: < 0.05), regardless of feeding state. The frequency of dividing cells along the gland was affected by early weaning in 18- and 22-d-old rats. These results suggest the following: 1) food deprivation effects are dependent on dietary condition at 18 d because different proliferative responses were achieved after early weaning and prolonged nursing; 2) the lack of changes after dietary manipulation in 22-d-old rats indicates a nonresponsive period during postnatal development. We conclude that milk is a modulatory factor for cell proliferation in the gastric mucosa of rats.

Blood concentration of coenzyme Q(10) increases in rats when esterified forms are administered.

Coenzyme Q levels decrease during aging in most tissues and in the target organs of a number of diseases. The uptake of this lipid into the blood and other tissues was investigated in 6-wk-old male Sprague-Dawley rats after 3 wk of dietary supplementation. In addition to the natural form of coenzyme Q(10), acetylated and succinylated forms were also administered. Coenzyme Q(10) was taken up into the blood, but uptake was significantly greater in rats given the succinylated ( approximately 40%), and particularly, the acetylated forms ( approximately 70%). All three forms increased significantly the total coenzyme Q concentration in both the liver ( approximately 100%) and spleen ( approximately 130%). Coenzyme Q(10) and its esterified forms were not taken up into kidney, heart, muscle or brain. Intraportal and intraperitoneal administration of succinylated coenzyme Q(10) gave results similar to those obtained in the dietary experiments. Uptake of the dietary coenzyme Q(10) into the liver and spleen did not down-regulate the endogenous synthesis, i.e., the amounts of isolated coenzyme Q(9) did not change in these tissues. Thus, esterification of coenzyme Q increases the uptake of dietary lipid into the blood; however, the derivatization does not contribute to the elevation of coenzyme Q levels in various organs.

The sodium concentration of enteral diets does not influence absorption of nutrients but induces intestinal secretion of water in miniature pigs.

Contradictory opinions exist as to whether the sodium concentration of enteral diets influences absorption of macronutrients and transepithelial movement of sodium and water. Therefore, we investigated the effects of various sodium concentrations of enteral diets on absorption of macronutrients and on net fluxes of sodium and water. In unanesthetized miniature pigs, a 150-cm jejunal segment was perfused with an oligopeptide (Peptisorb), an oligomeric and a polymeric diet. The polymeric diet was supplemented with pancreatic enzymes. The sodium concentrations varied between 30 and 150 mmol/L. The energy density was 3.4 MJ/L. The sodium concentration of the diets did not influence absorption of macronutrients and of total energy. However, increasing sodium concentrations of the diets were associated with increasing osmolality of the solutions, resulting in a linear increase in net secretion of water and flow rate of chyme. With all diets and sodium concentrations net secretion of sodium occurred. The sodium secretion was independent of the initial sodium concentration of the diets. It was linearly correlated with net flux of water and was largest in miniature pigs infused with the oligomeric diet. The sodium concentration of the jejunal effluent did not correspond to the initial sodium concentration of the diets. The present results indicate that enteral feeding of diets with high energy density inevitably increases net secretion of water and sodium as sodium concentration increases. Therefore, the sodium concentration of diets should be as low as possible to meet only the minimal daily requirement of sodium. Low sodium concentrations of diets have no negative effects on absorption of macronutrients.

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in formulae influence deposition of docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid in brain and red blood cells of artificially reared neonatal rats.

We studied the effects of dietary long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on the fatty acid composition of the brain and red blood cells in gastrostomized rat pups reared artificially from postnatal Days 5-18. These pups were fed rat milk substitutes in which the fat comprised 10% linoleic acid and 1% alpha-linolenic acid and, using a 3 x 3 factorial design, one of three levels of both arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplied as single cell microbial oils (0.0, 0.4 and 2.4% fatty acids). A tenth group was reared by nursing dams. The fatty acid composition of the phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylserine/phosphatidylinositol (PS/PI) phospholipids in the brain and red blood cells on Day 18 reflected the dietary composition in that pups receiving long-chain supplementation of each had higher levels of the supplemented PUFA, but lower levels of the other, relative to unsupplemented groups. In contrast to these results, there were few changes in the brain in phosphatidylcholine (PC) phospholipids whereas, in the red blood cells, changes in PC were similar to those in PE and PS/PI. Regression analyses showed that DHA levels in the brain correlated more closely with those of the red blood cells than did AA levels. The results of this study indicate that, although supplementation of formula with AA or DHA during the period of rapid brain development in rats increases deposition of the long-chain PUFA in the developing tissues, each also affects the levels of the other.

High maternal intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy in mice alters offsprings' aggressive behavior, immobility in the swim test, locomotor activity and brain protein kinase C activity.

Populations in Western countries consume an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), even during pregnancy. Since (n-6) PUFA is critical for brain development, we studied whether a high maternal consumption of this fatty acid alters offsprings' affective-like behaviors and (n-6) PUFA-induced protein kinase C (PKC) activity in the brain. Three different strains of pregnant mice were fed isocaloric diets containing either 16% (control) or 43% (high) energy derived from fat high in (n-6) PUFA (corn oil: Balb/c and CD-1 mice, or soybean oil: C3H mice) throughout gestation. From birth onward dams and offspring were fed a nonpurified diet containing 12% energy from a variety of fats. Two- to 12-month-old female and male offspring of dams exposed to a high (n-6) PUFA diet during pregnancy were significantly more active in an open field, more aggressive in the resident-intruder test and spent less time immobile in the swim test than offspring of dams exposed to a control (n-6) PUFA diet. Significantly greater PKC activity in the hypothalamus and moderately less PKC activity in the whole brain (P = 0.10) were seen in the 2-month-old female and male high (n-6) PUFA offspring compared to controls. Our findings indicate that in utero exposure to a high (n-6) PUFA diet subsequently increases locomotor activity and aggression, and reduces immobility in the swim test. The mechanism mediating these effects may be linked to an increased PKC activity in the hypothalamus.