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Survey suggests maternal diet may affect all.

The first broad survey of maternal diet and how it might affect risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children suggests that beans, beef, carrots, peas, and cantaloupe consumed during pregnancy may be protective.

Mothers of 138 children who developed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at a mean age of 5 years and 138 matched controls from the same communities completed a survey that asked them about their diet during the year before their pregnancies, said Christopher D. Jensen, Ph.D., of the University of California, Berkeley, and his associates (Cancer Causes Control 2004;15:559-70).

The investigators did not ask about diet during pregnancy because diet can be affected by nausea and it varies by trimester. Diet before pregnancy, however, reflects the mother's nutritional adequacy at the start of pregnancy and her eating patterns, which generally do not change during pregnancy, Dr. Jensen said.

Evidence has accumulated in recent years to suggest that the initiating genetic event of childhood leukemia often occurs in utero, raising the question of whether there might be maternal environmental exposures that could be tied to some of these events, he said. Previous studies of maternal diet have focused on specific questions, such as whether vitamin supplements ameliorate risk or whether cured meats might increase risk.

This investigation found that neither vitamin supplements nor consumption of cured meats had any association--positive or negative--with ALL. Other types of foods that were not found to have any significant relevance included grains, dairy products, sweets, and the kinds of cooking oils used.

Vegetables and protein sources, however, were associated with a decreased risk, with an odds ratio of 0.53 for the vegetables and 0.40 for the proteins.

Protein sources associated with reduced risk were beef (an odds ratio of 0.80) and beans (odds ratio 0.83). Vegetables associated with less risk were carrots (odds ratio 0.79) and string beans or peas (odds ratio 0.84). Fruit consumption was associated with reduced leukemia risk (odds ratio 0.71) and that protective effect appeared to reside mostly with cantaloupe (odds ratio 0.87).


Sacramento Bureau
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Title Annotation:Obstetrics
Author:Kirn, Timothy F.
Publication:OB GYN News
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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