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"Genetics is not a decisive factor in mental development": the findings of a Rosario doctor



After more than ten years working with a team of 300 specialists from around the world, the world's largest global child and growth research for two years, led by Argentine physician Jose Villar, arrived today on the pages of the prestigious newspaper Nature.

The work was done at the University of Oxford, where Villars – specialist in obstetrics, gynecology and perinatology – works as a professor of perinatal medicine and researcher for two decades and their conclusions will change the way in which pediatricians "measure" the growth and integral development of children. This, in turn, will result in benefits during the pregnancy phase, will enable the detection of early childhood problems and will benefit the implementation of public health policies that emphasize the well-being of the mother and child, the great obsession of Villar because he was a young professional.

The project was the largest prospective study, based on the population, the fetal and neonatal growth and development that took place, involved nearly 60 thousand mothers and babies and was carried out in two phases. First, from monitoring intrauterine growth in each of these pregnant women from different parts of the world. The latter, periodically evaluating more than 1,300 of these babies for up to two years.

In order to study growth, health, nutrition and neurological development from 14 weeks of pregnancy to two years, the team used the same conceptual framework as the Multicentre Reference Study of the World Health Organization. (WHO), in order to create standards for standards that will complement these WHO standards for children's growth and a new phenotypic classification of the limitation of fetal growth and preterm delivery syndromes.

Results of the results, whose data coincide with the WHO findings on the similarity of the growth of healthy and breastfed children around the world, lies in their discovery that physical and neurological growth and behavior of infants at a very similar rate in children, regardless of their ethnic origin or place of residence, provided that the living conditions are appropriate and with good nutrition. What's more, confirm that neither the skin color nor the place of birth distinguish differences in these issues, but the quality of life. "What makes us really different in terms of health are the social and economic conditions, not the genetic ones," Villar told the newspaper "La Capital" from his native Rosario of England.

Villar, who for years has been the coordinator of maternal health and the WHO perinatal, added: "Our study clearly shows that genetic code is not a central factor for mental development or growth, but that they are opportunities for access to medical examinations, good nutrition, breastfeeding, adequate housing, access to education and low environmental risk"

Oxford researchers and their associates compared mothers in similar socio-economic, health and educational situations, but from different ethnic groups found that there were no differences in development in two years between boys raised in good health from an African city and the other from London. "We are much more similar than they are different, in any case, there are many more differences between the poor and the" rich "in a particular country than among the" rich "from different parts of the world, to put it in a simple language," the expert noted.

The impact of the discovery

The results of this research are international in scope, complementing the WHO growth standards for children up to five years old. "For the first time in medicine we have standard mental parameters for the development of two years of boys and girls of the same mothers we studied in the first trimester of pregnancy. Full evaluation, using the same criteria and the same healthy populations as standards. This unified strategy for comprehensive control of mothers and newborns is first given to the mother, the fetus, the newborn, the premature babies, the newborns and the children up to two years old, "explained Villar.

Pediatricians (and especially mothers and fathers) will have a comprehensive international method, including mental development, "based on WHO criteria, rather than a mixture of local curves, sometimes questionable quality and unclear in relation to what is based on the population, with measures that are not standardized and that change if they move from a city or a state, "explained the professional.

Like that, Work provides new evidence-based tools to identify babies with uterine growth problems, a common method for quantifying and comparing the prevalence of nutritional deficiencies in birth populations, as well as the first evidence-based method for monitoring postnatal growth of preterm infants.

It is estimated that every year another 13 million new infants around the world will be identified as malnourished using the new standards compared to current practice.


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