Moms' Vitamins Cuts Kids' Brain Tumors
Brain Tumors in Kids May Be Less Likely if Moms Took Multivitamins Before and During Pregnancy
Sept. 22, 2006 -- Women who take multivitamins before and during pregnancy
may be less likely to have children who develop brain tumors by age 5
But the findings aren't rock solid and need more study, write Greta Bunin,
PhD, and colleagues in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers &
Bunin is on staff at Children's Hospital Philadelphia and the University of
Before you read about the study, know this: Brain tumors are rare in
children, and doctors can't always tell why they occur.
Bunin's team doesn't promise that prenatal vitamins will prevent kids' brain
tumors. The researchers also aren't blaming kids' brain tumors on women who
don't take multivitamins.
About the Study
Bunin and colleagues focused on 315 children aged 0-5 years with a type of
brain tumorcalled medulloblastoma.
The researchers interviewed the kids' moms about their diet and vitamin use
in the year before pregnancy and during pregnancy.
For comparison, they also interviewed the mothers of 315 children without
All of the kids lived in the U.S. or Canada.
The interviews were conducted by telephone and lasted nearly an hour, on
The researchers took factors including the mother's smoking, breastfeeding, BMI (body mass index), and age
The study was observational. The women weren't assigned to take, or not
take, any vitamins. So vitamins weren't directly tested for preventing kids'
The mothers who reported taking multivitamins close to the time of
conception were 30% less likely to have a child diagnosed with a brain tumor
before the child's 6th birthday, the study shows.
The researchers say those findings were weaker than their previous study.
They also note that the women may not have accurately recalled their vitamin
The study's finding is "of only borderline significance," the
researchers write. That means that the results could possibly be due to chance,
based on statistics.
But since their previous work also found a possible (and stronger) link
between moms' multivitamin use and lower risk of kids' brain tumors, Bunin's
team says the findings are "unlikely" to be due to chance.
The study doesn't distinguish between multivitamins and prenatal vitamins.
The researchers suggest making future studies more specific about what
multivitamins were used.