Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life On The Ranch: Baby Bunnies

Since I don't have time to do a long, detailed post right now, I thought I'd do a quick "Life On the Ranch" post. As you may know, I raise rabbits. Osiyyah often times comes out to the bunny barn in the morning with me to feed or even at night when I check on them. There was a litter of 8 babies born on Sunday night, so I thought I'd put a few pictures up of Osiyyah seeing this litter for the first time :).

No, it's not the first time he's ever seen a baby bunny . . . I have litters born all the time. But, it's exciting to see the new tiny babies everytime :)!

He likes to put his little hand in the box and let the babies jump up to his hand.

And if anyone wants to see a baby bunny, here's a picture of one of the babies in this litter at just a couple days old.

Have a great day! And hopefully I can finish getting some of my speech therapy posts written up soon :).


Friday, June 25, 2010

Homemade Nachos . . . And Chips!

Since being gluten-free, we eat a lot of mexican style food now . . . tostadas, tacos, etc. Which is fine by me, since it's quite good food anyways.

But, the other night, as I was cooking up a few pounds of ground meat, I decided to try something different . . . other than a quick tostada fixin' or tacos. Since we use corn tortillas all the time, I thought I'd fry up some homemade chips and make the dinner into nachos.

I cut the corn tortillas into quarters, then fried them in oil for a few seconds per side. Just long enough so they would brown and be crispy. Quite a few had to be made since our family is so big, but they went a lot farther than I thought! We even had left overs for lunch the next day. And, boy were the chips and nachos way more filling than regular tortilla chips from the store.

This summer when we're full of salsa from the garden . . .  I can just see it now . . . being asked for homemade chips instead of chips bought at the store. We'll see how many times we fry chips up now, since they were delicious!

The one key that I've found to frying tacos, tostadas or chips is to have the burner on high (or very close to it) for a crisp, not very greasy fried food. The lower the burner, the longer the tortilla has to be in the oil and the soggier the food gets.

After the chips were fried, I sprinkled a little bit of salt on each round that came out of the oil.

They were definitely a hit in this house :)!

When this post publishes (if it works right as a scheduled post), we should be in Broken Arrow for the DSAT 2011 Calendar photo shoot. Osiyyah is in it this year :)!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ukraine Orphans

Remember this little girl I posted a picture of a few weeks back?

She's been home just a few short weeks and the change in her is already very obvious.

But, there are still millions of orphans around the world who do not have a family and many who will never know the love of a family.

The special needs orphans pull a particular string, because they are so much more helpless. Their parents abandon them at birth simply because of their genetics, a deformity or a disability They abandon them over something the child had no choice in. Did that child choose to be born with a third 21st chromosome? No, God is the one who made him that way. Yet, because they aren't "perfect", many of these children are rejected or looked down upon by the society they are born into.

And so, they live their lives inside of a crib.

And then at 4 years old are transferred to an even worse place, a mental institution. To either live the rest of their life out locked up, tied to a crib or die very shortly after being sent there. Like these two little girls I wrote about in a blog post a year ago February.

Living your life inside of a crib, starved of love and adequate care & nutrition results in this:

This little boy is Wade. He has Down syndrome, is 3 years old and weighs about 10 lbs. Unbelievable, sickening and sad. He is in the same orphanage that the little girl at the top of this post, Hailee, was just rescued from. In the same room, where the "most needy" children are. Left in their cribs alone. When I saw his picture on this blog post, I couldn't help but cry. This little boy is adorable and he would be a baby I'd adopt right this moment, if adoption wasn't so difficult.

I wish there weren't so many stringent requirements in adoption, because then so many more people could adopt. (Yes, I understand why the requirements are there, but I still think it's a bit over board.)

If little Wade was born into a family who loved him, he would not be 10 lbs at 3 years old. I've seen it with my own eyes. My little brother has Down syndrome and we've loved him and treated him like any other child in our family and he has thrived beyond anything we were ever told! Just simple love goes so far.

Little Wade could do so well in a family and I can only hope that God will open the doors for us to be able to adopt a little guy like him someday.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Specially Formulating Nutrivene?

I was asked a few weeks ago about specifically formulating Nutrivene and if we did that for Osiyyah. As in specifically formulating it via metabolic testing, blood work, etc. I thought this would might be helpful for others, so I figured I'd post my reply up here as well (with a few changes ;)).

We have not done a custom formula. We give Osiyyah the regular formula and it works incredibly well for him. And then depending on lab work we’ll add more of a certain supplement if he needs it. Like Zinc and Vitamin D. We supplement extra in both of those. He tests low in zinc if we don’t supplement extra and Vitamin D it is recommended to give a higher amount (they can’t get that high of an amount in Nutrivene-D).Or, if needed we would reduce the amount of certain supplements, but that has never been a need or problem at all.

The thing with Nutrivene-D is that it has been "calibrated", things added to it, nutrient amounts increased or decreased, things taken away from it, etc over the last 15+ years. All of this in accordance with the latest research showing the nutritional benefits of TNI or certain supplements in children with DS. Or, based on families and what more they may need to supplement, or what they are supplementing extra with, and all that.

So, overall, Nutrivene-D is quite complete and I have never felt that we needed something specifically designed to Osiyyah’s body. That's what Nutrivene does for us already - it's targeted to meet the needs of a 47th chromosome.

Just in the fact that Nutrivene is designed for kids with an extra chromosome, says a lot. Yes, there’s a difference in kids with DS, but there are LOTS of similarities, especially when it comes to the imbalances, overexpressions, etc of all the 250+ additional genes on the third 21st chromosome.

If we were just to do testing on my brother and formulate something for him specifically, I’d be afraid that we would miss something. Because some of the nutrients in Nutrivene-D can’t just be easily tested for to see if they are needed. Some may be there to prevent something which research has shown is off balance or overexpressed because of the triplicated chromosome. And you may not necessarily be able to know via simple lab work.

There are some families who have had to give their child a bunch of supplements, because they either aren't able to get Nutrivene or their child won't take Nutrivene. These families certainly have their work cut out for them even more, but they still do have a guide. That guide? Nutrivene & the research behind it.

I know one family in Switzerland and the list of supplements their child takes is HUGE. But, it's all components that are in Nutrivene already or components that research has shown to be very beneficial.

Hope this helps someone!


Recipe 3: Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread

We have had a few Zucchini from the garden, so it's getting to be time to make homemade Zucchini bread and all the yummy stuff you can make with garden produce :).

Some may cringe at the idea of "Zucchini bread", but it's absolutely delicious. It's basically just like Pumpkin bread. The recipe we use is a recipe that we have used for 10-15+ years. Originally it was a Pumpkin bread recipe, but we've used Zucchini with it a lot and it's always delicious.

Yesterday was the first time we had tried it Gluten-Free and it was fabulous. I think it was almost better than the "Gluten-filled" version of it! Partly because of the Sorghum flour we used in it. That flour (even the smallest amount) makes everything taste so good.

This recipe makes 6 loaves of bread.

3 Eggs
4 Cups Sugar
6 Cups Pumpkin, Squash or Zucchini
2 Tablespoons Vanilla*
1 1/2 Cups Oil
6 Cups Gluten-Free Flour**
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Xanthan Gum
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon + 1 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon + 1 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 1/2 Cups Milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients together.

3. Butter pans and fill each loaf pan about 1/2 full.

4. Bake at 350 Degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*I have also used 1 tablespoon of Almond extract instead of Vanilla and it turns out great!

**Flour mix I used in this recipe: 2 1/2 cups White Rice Flour, 2 1/2 cups Brown Rice Flour, 1 cup Sorghum Flour.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Gluten Free Kitchen Time!

This is probably a record - 4 blog posts in a day :). Hopefully it helps keeps things interesting for ya'll!

We've done quite a decent amount of gluten-free baking lately. My 11 year old sister is the queen of the kitchen and making all the "goodies" for the house. She's come up with some amazingly delicious GF recipes. She blogs all her favorite recipes on her blog, along with her photography. She has some great kitchen & photography skills at such a young age :). Check out her blog and leave her some comments . . . I'm sure she'd enjoy it!

Our newest quest has been to do flourless baking. We've actually been quite successful so far. I made a Flourless Chocolate Cake for my brother's birthday party on Saturday. It was a hit. So rich, moist and delicious! I found the recipe by just browsing through, followed it exactly and the cake turned out great. I used 3 bags (11.5 oz each) of Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips.

This is a flourless Peanut Butter Cookie my little sister made. It was a big hit at my brother's party . . . even among our friends who aren't totally "gluten-free." It's a recipe that you'd never know was "Gluten-Free" or even Flourless for that matter!

I decided to make some biscuits (using our favorite recipe that I posted sometime ago) this afternoon. But, when Osiyyah heard I was heading into the kitchen he asked if I was going to make "No Wheat Tookies" (Cookies). So, I went ahead and made some no-bake cookies that he could help me with before going onto the biscuits.

The biscuits were a hit again and all 29 of them were gone at dinner time. They were especially yummy with homemade butter & homemade blueberry jam on them!


TalkTools -Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson- Video Online

Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson (TalkTools) has a blog. She recently gave a presentation at ASHA on the benefits of and the "why" behind Oral Placement Therapy (previously known as Oral Motor Therapy). It's taken her a bit of time to get the video of the presentation she did up online and this is why:

Sara said,

I didn't feel it was appropriate to film while at ASHA so I had to give the presentation to a camera instead of an audience, never my favorite. So, now you know why the long delay, but you also now have access to the video!

So, the original presentation isn't filmed, but she re-did if for everyone to have access to and to see! Thanks Sara :)!

The video and the handouts that go with it can be seen at This should be very informative and a great resource for parents, therapists and professionals alike! Feel free to pass this on to anyone you feel would be interested.


Free Shipping All Summer!

I received an email from the company which prints the book my mom & I edited and compiled, Down Syndrome: What You CAN Do and the email had a special discount with it. All summer, any order over $19.95 will receive free shipping! So, it works out perfect, since our book is $22.73 :). This is a good $5-$10 saving!

You can order the book & see a 15 page preview at


Life On The Ranch: Birthday Party & A Summer Swim

This past weekend was a very busy weekend for us. One of my brothers turned 18 last week, so we threw a surprise party for him on Saturday at my cousin's house (who lives across the street ;)). My brother is a cowboy and trains horses with my cousin, so the party was a "Hoe-Down" kind of party with apple bobbing, gunney sack races, cowboy dress-up, cow dummy roping, etc.

Everyone had quite a blast. Osiyyah wanted to do all of the party games . . . even the apple bobbing. No, we didn't let him do the apple bobbing as he would not have been able to do that safely. But, one game Osiyyah did do really well in was the gunney sack race. He raced his little cousin. Osiyyah did so good for about half the race, but then tripped. He was so disappointed that he tripped up!

And I'll throw a couple pictures in of my 18 year old brother racing too!

The prize basket waiting for the winners of each game :)

Sunday was a very hot, humid Oklahoma summer day. So, it was the perfect day to go swimming at the creek. The spot we swim at is a nice 20 minute drive or so and it's the perfect place. Shallow in some areas for the little ones and deep in some areas for those who want to swim. The water is the *perfect* temperature too. Such a blessing to be able to go cool off on these hot days.

Osiyyah was having quite the time in the creek yesterday. Wanting me to help him "float" on his back and get the back of his head wet in the water. Wanting to dip his face in the creek . . . with us holding his nose and keeping his mouth closed.

Such a great weekend God blessed us with :)!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Megavitamins vs Nutrivene

Since I said I would post this article up, I thought I'd put it up right now, since I don't have enough time to finish some of the other posts I have started ;).

Megavitamins vs Nutrivene
by Qadoshyah Fish

One of the biggest concerns parents have with giving their child Nutrivene-D is the “mega-dose” of vitamins they think they will be giving their child. Nutrivene-D is nothing remotely close to “mega-doses” of vitamins.

This stems from the 1950’s to the 1980’s when the idea of vitamin treatment for the population with Down syndrome was very new. The medical literature of the time referred to this as “mega-vitamin therapy”. Dr. Turkel was the first doctor to start this idea. He received much opposition and harassment from the medical establishment of the time, largely due to the “mega-doses” he was using.

Because of this past history, when Nutrivene-D was designed in the 9o’s, the vast majority of people were adamantly opposed to the idea of nutritional supplementation for those with Down syndrome. Sadly, there is still this misconception, which makes many people opposed to TNI still.

Dr. Turkel was working in a time when they did not know what was going on with the 21st chromosome; this was long before the Human Genome Project was done in the 1990’s.  Because of this, Dr. Turkel put huge amounts of supplements in his U Series; amounts that are much higher than the RDA.

Later in the 80’s Ruth Harrell and others did a study using mega doses of vitamins. The doses they used were extremely high; doses were 50 to 300 times the RDA²⁻³ (Recommended Daily Allowance); these are “mega-doses”. The doses in Nutrivene-D are nowhere near the amounts that were used in Dr. Turkel’s formula, or in the GTC formula which Ruth Harrell used.  While there were a few initial results seen with the “mega-dose” formulas, they generally did not work. Two studies done after Dr. Harrell’s study tried to replicate what she found, but only found that the “mega-doses” did not work⁴⁻⁶.

Nutrivene-D is “targeted” to meet the specific nutrient needs due to the extra 21st chromosome of individuals with Down syndrome. This is something very important to realize. The “mega-doses” of vitamins were in a start in the right direction, but they were not the answer. The amounts of nutrients in Nutrivene-D are carefully researched and calibrated before being added to the formula. The scientists who create the Nutrivene formula have much more advantage than the scientists and doctors who were using the “mega-doses” of vitamins. The scientists of today have the advantage of the Human Genome Project and much more research to guide them as to what needs to be done. The scientists back in time past did not have the advantage of all the medical research and literature that is available today.

1.    Medical Treatment of Down Syndrome and Genetic Diseases. Henry Turkel, M.D., Ilse Nusbaum, M.A. Copyright 1985
2.    RF Harrell, RH Capp, DR Davis, J Peerless, LR Ravitz. Can nutritional supplements help mentally retarded children? An exploratory study.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Jan.1981; 78(1):574-578.
3.    Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Intakes for Individuals. Food & Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies.
4.    Medical Treatment of Down Syndrome and Genetic Diseases. Henry Turkel, M.D., Ilse Nusbaum, M.A. Copyright 1985
5.    RF Harrell, RH Capp, DR Davis, J Peerless, LR Ravitz. Can nutritional supplements help mentally retarded children? An exploratory study.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Jan.1981; 78(1):574-578.
6.    Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Intakes for Individuals. Food & Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies.
7.    M. Hattori A. Fujiyama T. D. Taylor H. Watanabe T. Yada H.-S. et al. The DNA sequence of human chromosome 21.  Nature  405, 311 - 319 (2000).


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Supportive Doctors

In any given week or day, I more than likely got an email or emails from moms, dads, grandparents or just someone wanting to find out more information about Nutrivene or TNI in general. Last week I was corresponding with one mom and she asked about something that almost always comes up, along the lines of . . .  "what information do I give to my doctor(s)?" or "how do I tell my pediatrician about TNI?"

This can be a tricky point for some families when it comes to giving TNI. There are some who trust their doctors so much, that if the doctor doesn't agree with TNI, then they won't give it to their child. Which is fine, if that's the way someone wants to live. Then there are some who will give their doctor the information, but still give it to their child no matter what the doctor says. Or some who don't even ask their doctor about it.

So, I thought I'd share what we did and what I often tell parents.

When we found out about Nutrivene when Osiyyah was 8 months old (he's not 5 years old), from everything I had researched (which was a lot!), we decided we had nothing to lose and possibly all to gain. We started Osiyyah on Nutrivene without asking any of his "doctors" who we had been seeing at the time. Because, in our mind, there was nothing these doctors would say that would make us not give it to Osiyyah. After all, they knew very little about Down syndrome, so how much help would they really be . . . not much!

But, we did get the Physicians Packet that International Nutrition has. This packet contains a bunch of information, research and studies on the benefits of TNI. I'd highly suggest this for anyone who wants to give their doctor some basic, yet good information, on TNI.

Anyways, we got the packet, made several copies and gave a packet to each doctor he had seen since he was born. We gave it to them just as an FYI and a hope that they would remember it and use it or recommend it for other kids with DS who may come into their practice.

From our experiences with doctors and professionals in Osiyyah's life, the vast majority of the doctors have known hardly anything about DS or haven't been supportive of TNI. And this is something that I hear about all too often on the DS listservs I'm on . . . parents who's doctors are in complete disagreement with Nutrivene/TNI. So, when we met Dr. Leichtman when Osiyyah was a little over a year old, it was such a relief. A relief to have a doctor who actually knew what he was talking about and could tell us something and we didn't have to teach him! And a doctor who was in support of Nutrivene!

But, most families only have their regular doctor/pediatrician and often times it is not someone who is in support of TNI. These families have to share their knowledge with their doctor, which is great, but it can also be a challenge.

This mom I was recently corresponding with, took information to her daughter's pediatrician about Nutrivene and guess what . . . he was fully supportive! In fact he highly recommends it. When she told me that, I was amazed. What a breath of fresh air for sure! He sounds like a great doctor ;).

Overall, I think it is a good thing to share about Nutrivene/TNI with your child's pediatrician, doctors and therapists and hope that they will be supportive, like this one mother's doctor. And even if they aren't supportive, I'd question as to why. Why are they against something that is so beneficial and should not cause any harm? Is it just because of their unfamiliarity with it? Just because it's "against the grain"? Or . . .? Well, then take their concerns, pair up with the research that has been done on TNI in children with DS and see if their concerns are even valid or if it's complete hogwash.

I'd highly recommend you give your doctor the Physician's Packet which International Nutrition offers or at least print some articles/resources from the internet to take to your doctor.

Two things which many people (not just doctors) bring up in regards to TNI is:

1) It's not scientifically proven in a "double-blind clinical trial"

~ Yes, it hasn't been in a double-blind clinical trial yet, because it is too expensive to do and the pharmaceutical company is not interested in doing something about a supplement like this. There isn't a massive market for it. Besides, there are t-o-n-s of studies showing the massive benefits of all the ingredients in Nutrivene. And there are even studies on children taking TNI and various antioxidant supplements and seeing great benefits. Have any of you heard or read about the craziness and the ringer the FDA put Dr. Turkel through when he tried to get the "U Series" FDA approved? Probably not . . . but that's definitely a post for another day, since it's way too much to post here!

2) It's "mega-doses" of vitamins.

This is just plain non-sense. And one of my biggest pet-peeves that I hear from those who are against TNI. The doses in Nutrivene are not mega-doses in *any* sense of the word! I wrote a whole article on this for our book and I will post that up soon, so that it goes into more depth.

Here are a few resources I'd recommend if you are looking for information just to print from online:

~ Dr. Leichtman's TNI in Children & Adults with Down Syndrome

~ Very detailed, in-depth article on TNI in a rebuttal to a very commonly used article against TNI


~ TNI Articles from Riverbend

~ Supplement Abstracts

~ TNI for Children with Down Syndrome by Dr. Gelb

~ Can Cognitive Deterioration associted with Down syndrome be reduced by Dr. Thiel

~ Nutrition and Down Syndrome by Dr. Thiel

~ The Effects of Supplementation in Children with Down syndrome by Dr. Peeters-Ney

I hope this helps some and as always, feel free to email me or leave a comment here and I'd be glad to help as much as I can!


Friday, June 4, 2010

Minus Two

Well, we had to take Osiyyah to the dentist yesterday. The night before when he was brushing his teeth, he quit and started crying because something in his mouth was hurting him. So, we had to make an appointment at the dentist on Thursday to see what was up. We thought maybe he had a cavity going, because he has had a few issues with some cavities over the years.

Anyways, Osiyyah did okay at the dentist and only cried a couple times in his visit. But, he came out of the room with two less teeth. I'm so thankful for the dentist God provided for us in Tahlequah. He's so great! Easy going, doesn't care if a kid cries while he's working on them, will work on kids with special needs (because some won't touch a kid with DS at all for whatever reason!), etc.

Osiyyah came to the waiting room where I was sitting, when he was done, and the nurse and my mom said "smile at her" . . . well he did and his two front teeth were gone(!). The look on my face must've been a look of shock! I was really hoping he wouldn't have to have any teeth pulled and that it would just be a small little cavity. But, thankfully no cavity and his teeth were pulled because his "adult teeth" were/are starting to come in behind his baby teeth. So, he would've needed the teeth out sooner-than-later anyways. Wow, it's hard to believe he is already at the age where he can start losing his baby teeth.

I was a bit torn at first . . . his speech is already delayed and I wasn't sure how having two less teeth in his mouth would affect his speech and sounds. Thankfully, it doesn't seem to be affecting him too much yet.

But, I think there may be a benefit to it (gotta look at the bright side of things, right?!) . . . he has to use his molars and the side of his mouth to chew things more, which creates that up-and-down motion that he so desperately lacks when it comes to correctly chewing (oh wait . . . he doesn't have any correct chewing to begin with). Hopefully this will help facilitate that up-and-down motion! We shall see . . . it'll be interesting to watch. I can already see that he is *having* to use his jaw and molars more, so that right there is excellent.

Poor Osiyyah, he was so bummed out at first. He thought he couldn't eat anything hard anymore. So, we explained to him a few times over that he just has to do it differently. He can still eat. He can still bite things, just has to be done on the side. After all, his older brother had the same thing done (two front teeth out) when he was little and was just fine.

So, Osiyyah has realized that he can eat just fine . . . even hard or harder pieces of food like carrots, potatoes and even a snickers bar (although that's not part of our regular diet!), etc ;).

Well, I have more to post about sometime . . . hopefully throughout next week. I've got several speech related posts lined up and a couple others too! Stay tuned.

Have a good night!


Choline Study in Down Syndrome Mice

This came across one of the Down syndrome email groups I'm on and I thought it was interesting. There are some families who already supplement Choline or Phosphatidylcholine (slightly different than "just" Choline) to their kids with DS. And they have noticed improvements. One big proponent of PC supplementation is the Changing Minds Foundation.

We do not supplement addition Choline or PC by itself. There is PC in Longvida though, so Osiyyah does get some in that way.

— More choline during pregnancy and nursing could provide lasting cognitive and emotional benefits to individuals with Down syndrome and protect against neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, suggests a new Cornell study of mice.

The findings, published June 2 in Behavioral Neuroscience, could help lead to increasing the maternal dietary recommendations for choline (currently 450 milligrams a day during pregnancy, 550 milligrams for lactation), a nutrient found in egg yolks, liver, nuts and such vegetables as broccoli and cauliflower.

"We found that supplementing the maternal diet with additional choline resulted in dramatic improvements in attention and some normalization of emotion regulation in a mouse model of Down syndrome," said lead author Barbara Strupp, professor of nutritional sciences and of psychology. The researchers also found evidence for "subtle, but statistically significant, improvement in learning ability in the non-Down syndrome littermates."

In addition to mental retardation, Down syndrome individuals often experience dementia in middle age as a result of brain neuron atrophy similar to that suffered by people with Alzheimer's disease. Strupp noted that the improved mental abilities found in the Down syndrome mice following maternal choline supplements could indicate protection from such neurodegeneration "in the population at large."

Strupp and her co-authors tested Down syndrome model mice born from mothers fed a normal diet and those given choline supplements during their three-week pregnancy and three-week lactation period, as well as normal mice born from mothers with and without additional choline. The choline-supplemented mothers received approximately 4.5 times more choline (roughly comparable to levels at the higher range of human intake) than unsupplemented mothers.

At six months of age, the mice performed a series of behavioral tasks for about six months to assess their impulsivity, attention span, emotion control and other mental abilities.

In addition to dramatic improvements in attention, the researchers found that the unsupplemented Down syndrome model mice became more agitated after a mistake than normal mice, jumping repeatedly and taking longer to initiate the next trial, whereas the choline-supplemented Down syndrome model mice showed partial improvement in these areas.

"I'm impressed by the magnitude of the cognitive benefits seen in the Down syndrome model mice," Strupp said. "Moreover, these are clearly lasting cognitive improvements, seen many months after the period of choline supplementation."

Strupp noted that the results are consistent with studies by other researchers that found increased maternal choline intake improves offspring cognitive abilities in rats. However, this is the first study to evaluate the effects of maternal choline supplementation in a rodent model of Down syndrome. This is also one of the few studies that has evaluated offspring attentional function and effects in mice, rather than rats, Strupp noted.

Previous studies of humans and laboratory animals have shown that supplementing the diets of adults with choline has proven to be largely ineffective in improving cognition. "Although the precise mechanism is unknown, these lasting beneficial effects of choline observed in the present study are likely to be limited to increased intake during very early development," Strupp said.

The study, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was part of the dissertation of Jisook Moon, Ph.D. '06. Other Cornell collaborators included Myla Strawderman, research associate in nutritional sciences; David Levitsky, professor of nutrition and of psychology; May Chen '07 and Shruti Gandhy '07.

Strupp and collaborators have received additional NIH funding to study the neural mechanisms underlying the positive cognitive effects of perinatal choline supplementation observed in this study.


NDSS Times Square Video Photo Contest

The annual National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk in Times Square is coming up in a few months - October ;). But, the Photo Contest for their Times Square Video is on and closes July 14th. Get a photo in and submit it to see if your kiddo will be on a video in Times Square!

This is the first year we've submitted a picture of Osiyyah  . . . we'll see what happens!


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