Researchers Discover How Folate Promotes Healing In Spinal Cord Injuries

NIH Funded Study Deciphers Chemical Sequence of Nerve Regeneration in Rats

The vitamin folate appears to promote healing in damaged rat spinal cord tissue by triggering a change in DNA, according to a laboratory study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers showed that the healing effects of the vitamin increased with the dosage, until regrowth of the damaged tissue reached a maximum level. After this threshold was reached, regrowth declined progressively with increasing doses until it reached the level seen in the absence of the vitamin.

Specifically, folate stimulated a process known as DNA methylation, a natural biochemical process in which chemical compounds known as methyl groups are attached to DNA. The study results suggest that a greater understanding of the chemical sequences associated with folate metabolism and DNA methylation may lead to new techniques to promote healing of damaged spinal cords and other nervous system injuries.

The research is at an early stage and additional studies are needed to determine what role folate might play in the treatment of human beings with spinal cord injury. Information about folate in human nutrition, including dietary sources of the vitamin and appropriate daily intake is available from the folate fact sheet( of the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (

The research was supported by the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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2010–11 influenza recommendations are now simple and easy to remember — everyone, every year!

In February, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on vaccine guidance, made a landmark decision establishing a universal influenza vaccine recommendation, starting with the 2010–11 influenza season. This means that all people in the United States—excluding babies younger than age six months and people with certain medical conditions—are now recommended to receive influenza vaccine every year.

The new recommendation is simple, straightforward, and easy to communicate. It eliminates the complexities of the prior recommendations, which said people should be vaccinated if they fell into any of 15 different targeted groups (a lengthy list to commit to memory). Going forward, healthcare professionals will have a very easy time deciding which of their patients are recommended for influenza vaccine. And patients will eventually come to recognize that influenza vaccine is routinely recommended for them. Now, the message is simple: everyone, every year, unless specifically contraindicated.

Here at the Immunization Action Coalition, we welcome this change. We think it will erase any uncertainties healthcare professionals and their patients may have had about who should be vaccinated, and will lead to more people than ever protecting themselves, their families, and their communities by getting immunized.

Best regards,

Deborah L. Wexler, MD

Executive Director

Immunization Action Coalition

[email protected]


For more information about flu and flu shots click on this link to

Healthy body image: Tips for guiding girls – photo

A healthy body image is an important part of a growing girl’s self-esteem. Understand what you can do to help your daughter feel comfortable with her body.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Girls today face significant pressure to be physically attractive and have a perfect body. As a result, many girls feel dissatisfied with their bodies and are at higher risk of developing mental health problems. There are steps you can take, however, to encourage your daughter to love her body, regardless of its shape or size. Find out what you can do to help girls develop and maintain a healthy body image.

Causes of a negative body image

Maintaining a healthy body image during adolescence is often difficult for girls. Factors that may harm a girl’s body image include:

  • Having a mother who’s overly concerned about her own weight or her daughter’s weight or appearance
  • Natural weight gain and other changes caused by puberty
  • Peer pressure to look a certain way
  • Media images that promote the ideal female body as thin
  • Being teased about her weight

Consequences of a negative body image

If your daughter doesn’t feel she lives up to the ideal body image promoted by friends, family and the media, she may begin to feel inadequate and ashamed of her body — even if she’s not overweight. Girls who feel dissatisfied with their bodies are at higher risk of developing mental health problems, including:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders

Having a negative body image also may lead to skipping meals or a cycle of dieting, losing weight and regaining weight — which can further harm self-esteem. A negative body image may even result in a desire for cosmetic surgery. Some research suggests a link between body dissatisfaction among girls and cigarette smoking, possibly because girls may believe that smoking will help them control their weight. Having a negative body image also may affect a girl’s comfort with her sexuality as she grows.