Prenatal Zinc supplementation, cardiac and executive function at 14 years of age in Peru
The burden of cardiometabolic disease (CMD) has grown worldwide and is expected to increase in developing countries over the coming decades. There is evidence that autonomic nervous system programming during fetal development can influence risk for cardiovascular disease later in life, and prior studies in Peru suggest that zinc, in particular, plays an integral role in overall growth and in nervous system development. Between 1998-2000, Dr. Caulfield and other researchers at the JHSPH and the Instituto de Investigacin Nutricional (IIN) in Lima, Peru conducted a randomized controlled trial of zinc supplementation in a periurban area in which they found strong evidence that supplemental zinc had led to greater parasympathetic dominance of cardiac function (which should reduce long term risk of CMD). These differences were still apparent when the children were evaluated at age 4.5 years. The team is now conducting a follow-up study of the children at age 14 to assess whether differences in autonomic regulation persist, and whether effects can be seen in social, cognitive, and behavioral function. To this protocol, I propose to add a Stroop Test with ECG to assess stress response as a marker of eventual risk of cardiovascular disease My role will be to administer the simple, low-tech test, determine its applicability, and collect pilot data in the form of responses to the test. This project presents an excellent opportunity for me to hone my quantitative skills while contributing to a priority area in global health, namely, the burden of non-communicable diseases in developing countries.