Original source: The Neuropsychotherapist 

Imaging study finds brain development differences between youth who were and were not exposed to folic-acid-enriched foods during gestation.

Fortifying grain-based foods with folic acid – instituted in the U.S. in the 1990s to prevent neural tube defects in infants – may also reduce the incidence of severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia that initially appear in young adulthood. In their study comparing brain images of school-aged youths born just prior to the fortification mandate to those of young people born afterwards, a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-based research team found that increased in utero folic acid exposure was associated with changes in later brain development. These brain changes, in turn, predicted a reduced risk for symptoms of psychosis.

Sometimes a disease is the handiwork of a clear culprit: the invasion of a bacterium, or the mutation of a gene.

Conventionally, scientists have assumed the same for neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and zoom in on the brain to look for potential localized causes, such as particular molecules or genes. For example, they’ve found that the brains of Alzheimer’s patients contain proteins that have folded in the wrong way.

Keywords; prenatal, folic acid, mental illness