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Pork products aid foetal mouse brain development

8 January 2010

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Category: Research & medical benefits

pork–bacon–butty–sandwhich.jpgEating pork that contains a micronutrient could help a growing brain develop, according to a recent study on mice.

Previous research has shown that the diet of a pregnant mother can greatly affect the health of the foetus. The nutrient choline has been suggested to help treat heart problems by administering it in large doses. Now scientists claim choline, found in bacon, sausages and eggs assists recall function in foetal brains.

The team studied groups of pregnant mice with differing diets of choline. One group received a larger amount of choline than the other. In the groups with larger choline consumption there were noticeable genetic changes in the hippocampus part of the brain, which is responsible for memory. Specifically the genetic changes were found in cells which are vital for creating new brain cells. The researchers isolated a few of the changed cells, grew them in a culture and found they produced proteins involved in brain cell regulation.

Although scientists warn that bacon can never be entirely healthy, they hope the results will help people reconsider "unhealthy" food.