Unlocking the mysteries of childhood genetic diseases: Can a mother's diet, pre-conception, damage her baby's DNA?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 by: Raw Michelle
Tags: CdLS, DNA, diet

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(NaturalNews) Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, or CdLS, an increasingly less rare genetic disorder affecting one in 10,000 to 30,000 newborns, may have ties to mom's bad food choices.

Meet Samantha

On March 22, 2002 Samantha was taken from the womb a month early and was held in the NICU, in a Windsor hospital in Canada, for several months before she was able to go home to her parents. A diagnosis was not readily available until a specialist arrived on the scene from the nearby city of London. Samantha had a very low birth weight, was missing fingers on one hand, had fused fingers on the other, would not latch to breast or bottle and has since been fed through a tube. She suffers from reflux disease, has a broad range of mental and physical difficulties, and the distinct CdLS "look." Constantly needing monitoring for fear of choking on her own vomit (which once nearly killed her), Samantha is going to be dependent on a caretaker for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, children born with CdLS sometimes do not survive into adulthood.

It's all in the genes

Research has found that a mutation in a protein complex called cohesin may play a part in a number of developmental diseases. Cohesin is required to stabilize and repair DNA, but also for proper cell division. It essentially holds the chromosomes together. Fluctuations in cohesin levels may cause genetic defects, which can manifest as CdLS. Although we now know that the cause is genetic, cases like Samantha's raise a lot of questions. Does poor maternal diet and the protein cohesin, largely unknown to the general population, play a role in the baby's health? Can parents do anything to improve the health of their future children, even before conception?

There currently is insufficient research to accurately answer all of these questions. However, there is increasingly more evidence that the mom's diet does affect the viability and health of the fetus, even before conception. Baylor College of Medicine researchers published a report in 2011, which showed that what mothers eat, can affect the health of their infants. Cohesin also seems to decrease as women age, which puts babies born to women in their late 30s and 40s at a greater risk of disability.

There is still hope

Many scientists say it's a gamble, but there are simple things that can help lower the risk of birth defects, and improving the mother's diet is one of them. Protein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron and calcium, can boost fetal growth. These nutrients can be found in a variety of fresh plant foods.

Also, improving the child's diet has already been known to work miracles for diseases in the autism spectrum. Many of the symptoms of CdLS are similar to those of autism, including uncontrollable behavior and difficulties in communication.

Organizations like the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation, work to raise awareness and educate parents and communities about raising kids with CdLS in a loving, healthy environment that improves their quality of life.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. >>> Click here to see more by Michelle

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