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Ulster University has secured almost half a million pounds of research funding to explore the benefits of taking folic acid in later pregnancy.
With the benefits of taking folic acid supplements prior to and in early pregnancy already well documented, Ulster University researchers will now examine the potential long-term effect on brain function and psychological development among children whose mothers continued to take the supplement during their second and third trimester.
The new project will also look at how these effects may be passed on, in addition to the information contained in the genes, and will incorporate research from the fields of psychology and computing as well as nutrition and genetics.
The funding is part of an exclusive £3 million UK-wide initiative established by the UK Research Councils for eight projects at just six UK universities, which will look at the effects of early life experiences on long term health.
The Ulster University research will build on a controlled trial carried out by the University on late pregnancy folic acid supplementation, and will focus on the children of the pregnant women who took part and how the possible benefits may be passed on to children.
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Source: University of Ulster