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"Genetics is not the determining factor in mental development": Rosario's findings



After more than a decade of working with a team of 300 professionals from all over the world, the largest global study on child development and growth up to two years, led by Argentine physician José Villar, today arrived on the prestigious magazine pages. Nature.

The work was done at the University of Oxford, where Villar, a specialist in obstetrics, gynecology and perinatology, is a professor of perinatal medicine and researcher for twenty years. their conclusions will change the way pediatricians "measure" child growth and integral development. This, in turn, will bring benefits during pregnancy, identify early childhood problems and promote the implementation of public health policies that emphasize maternal and child well-being, Villar's great obsession since He was a new professional.

The project was the largest prospective study based on citizens, about the growth and development of the fetus and newborns, which involved nearly 60,000 mothers and children, and was carried out in two stages. The first of the intrauterine growth observations in each of these pregnant women from different parts of the world. Second, periodically evaluating over 1,300 of these children up to the age of two.

To study growth, health, nutrition and neurological development from 14 weeks of gestation to two years of age, the team used the same conceptual framework as the World Health Organization Multicenter Reference Study. Health (WHO) to develop prescriptive standards to complement these WHO child growth standards, and the classification of a new phenotype for fetal limitations and premature birth syndromes.

The novelty of the results, the data of which coincide with the WHO findings on the similarity of healthy and infant growth in the world, is their revelation that children's physical and neurological growth and behavior are very similar to children, regardless of their ethnic origin or place of residence, provided that living conditions are suitable and with good nutrition. What's more, confirm that neither the color of the skin nor the place of birth differs on these issues, but the quality of life. "What makes us truly different from a health point of view is social and economic conditions, not genetic conditions," Villar told La Capital of his native Rosary from England.

Villars, who for many years was the WHO's Mother and Perinatal Health Coordinator, added: "Our study clearly shows that the genetic code is not the main factor in mental development or growth, but it is access to medical control, good nutrition, breastfeeding, adequate housing, access to education and low environmental risk;"

Oxford researchers and their collaborators compared mothers with similar socio-economic, health and educational situations, but from different ethnic groups, and found that there was no difference between boys bred between African cities and African cities within two years. the other from London. "We are much more than they are different, in any case there is much more difference between the poor and the" rich "in a particular country than among the" rich "from different parts of the world to put it in plain language," the expert stressed.

Influence of Discovery

The results of this study are international, complementing the WHO's growth standards for children under the age of five. "For the first time in medicine we have the standard parameters of mental development at the age of two from the same mother's boys and girls that we studied in the first trimester of pregnancy.. Complete assessment using the same criteria and the same healthy people as standards. This unified maternal and child comprehensive control strategy was first obtained for the mother, the fetus, newborns, premature babies, infants and children up to the age of two, ”explained Villars.

Pediatricians (and especially mothers and fathers) will have a comprehensive international approach, including spiritual development based on WHO criteria, rather than a combination of local curves, sometimes questionable quality and ambiguity. the link with the population, with measures that are not standardized and changing if they move from city or country, 'explained the professional.

That way, Work provides new, evidence-based tools to identify children with growth problems in the womb– A common method for calculating and comparing the prevalence of population malnutrition at birth and the first evidence-based method for monitoring premature infant growth.

It is estimated that every year 13 million more newborns around the world will be undernourished by new standards compared to current practice.


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