Biochemical and morphological changes in the digestive tract of rats after prenatal and postnatal malnutrition
Previous studies using rats have shown that curtailment of maternal nutrition during pregnancy and the immediate period following birth produces impairment of the development of the intestinal system of the pups when viewed at 20 days. The current report examines the situation at 42 days, a time when the infant rats' gastrointestinal system is more developed. The experiment used Sprague-Dawley rats which were timed in their pregnancy by checking for vaginal plugs (a plug which forms after successful mating). Control animals were allowed to eat at will (ad libitum) and the experimental animals received 50 percent of the volume of food that was consumed by the control animals on the previous day. At birth litter size was adjusted to eight pups for each mother. This produced a malnourished state both during gestation and during the period of lactation (when pups nursed from birth until weaning on day 21). There was no difference in morbidity or mortality, but striking changes occurred in the weight of the pups, and in their gastrointestinal organs. At autopsy samples of various areas of the gastrointestinal system were taken for microscopic examination and for a determination of the DNA. Comparing the amount of DNA in a sample to its weight gave a measure of the number of cells per unit of weight. Compared to controls the condition of the mucous membrane of the colon and small intestine of the malnourished pups were judged to be hypotrophic (abnormal and with depressed structure); similar changes were seen in samples of the liver and pancreas. DNA studies showed a reduction in cell content (hypoplastic) in all samples from the malnourished pups except for the small intestine.
Publication Name: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Gallstones in children: characterization by age, etiology, and outcome
Ultrasonography has identified groups of children at risk for gallstones, a condition previously thought to occur rarely in children. Children at higher risk include those with spinal injury and surgery, immunodeficiency or who are receiving parenteral (nonoral) nutrition. A study of 50 children with gallstones was undertaken to determine the reason for seeking medical attention, method of diagnosis and treatment and factors associated with gallbladder disease. The average age of the patients was 12.2 years, and there were 21 boys and 29 girls. There were four major groups of children: 18 patients had hemolytic (red blood cell-destroying) diseases; 8 were receiving parenteral nutrition; 7 were pregnant adolescents; and 10 had gallstones with no known cause. Seven children had miscellaneous other causes. The most common initial problems were upper abdominal pain (32 children), jaundice, or yellow skin and eyes (15), and vomiting (13). Thirteen patients had nonspecific abdominal complaints and 10 patients had no symptoms. Diagnosis was made by ultrasonography in 48 of the 50 children, and cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder) was performed for 36 children. Excluding the pregnant patients, girls did not show a greater incidence of gallstones than did boys; this differs from the incidence seen in the adult population. The most common (8 percent) complication was inflammation of the pancreas. These results suggest that gallstones in children can have various causes and the adult model of symptoms and laboratory confirmation does not apply to children. (Consumer Summary produced by Reliance Medical Information, Inc.)
Publication Name: American Journal of Diseases of Children
Nutrient intake and nitrogen metabolism in cancer patients during oncological chemotherapy
Both the disease of cancer and its treatment can have severe adverse effects on patients' nutrition. As cancer progresses, patients typically lose weight. Presence of the tumor in the body can cause poor appetite (anorexia) so cancer patients may consume less food. The tumor also may increase metabolic rate so the body needs more fuel to simply maintain weight. Chemotherapy treatments, which involve infusion of cytotoxic medications that kill body cells, also interfere with patients' nutritional status. This study investigated how chemotherapy alters patient nutrition. Thirteen patients with malignant tumors were compared to 12 healthy volunteers. For all subjects, daily food intake was recorded. The nutritional status of the cancer patients was also evaluated using several tests, including nitrogen balance to measure protein metabolism and the creatinine-height index to measure muscle mass. The authors conclude that the diminished nutritional status of these cancer patients was mainly caused by reduced food intake. The side effects of chemotherapy were thought responsible for the reduced food intake; these side effects included anorexia and painful irritation of the mouth. Only the cancer patients who ate as much food as controls maintained their weight during chemotherapy; the other nutrition indices were also normal if caloric intake was maintained. Cancer patients who ate less than controls lost weight and showed abnormal nitrogen balance and creatinine-height index. The weight they lost appeared to be mainly muscle mass; this is known as muscle wasting.
Publication Name: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- Abstracts: Antidepressant medications and the relative risk of suicide attempt and suicide. Choosing a First-Line Antidepressant: Equal on Average Does Not Mean Equal for Everyone
- Abstracts: Distal-end esophagostomy of the excluded esophagus in the palliation of upper and mid-esophageal carcinoma. Management of huge epiphrenic esophageal diverticula
- Abstracts: Femur length in the US prediction of trisomy 21 and other chromosomal abnormalities. Current status of MR imaging contrast agents: special report
- Abstracts: Magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of spinal tumors. Right atrial extension of adrenocortical carcinoma: surgical management using hypothermia and cardiopulmonary bypass
- Abstracts: Transvaginal ultrasound in the diagnosis and treatment of tubo-ovarian abscess. Transvaginal ultrasonic assessment of endometrial growth in spontaneous and hyperstimulated menstrual cycles