Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

(Mal)nutrition and the Infant Brain

Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

(Mal)nutrition and the Infant Brain

Article excerpt

(Mal)nutrition and the Infant Brain, edited by Nico M. van Gelder, Roger F. Butterworth and Boris D. Drujan. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1990, 337 pages.

You might think we know all about the nutritional requirements of the newborn and infant. We don't. That makes (Malnutrition and the Infant Brain a very important book. The book is the proceedings of a conference on the topic of infant nutrition held by the Centre de recherche en sciences neurologiques at the University of Montreal in 1989. Participants from 8 countries and four continents discussed dietary requirements, neurological factors, neurochemical integration, and nurturance and the environment.

The book consists of 25 papers on a wide range of topics including the nutritional requirements of the premature child, mother's milk vs. formula, kwashiorkor, nutritional and environmental influences on the development of the brain, the effects of vitamin deficiencies, the social influence on diet, the role of government intervention in establishing diet, etc. There seems to be something for everybody who has a serious interest in the issue of nutrition. But the book is not for the general interest reader. The papers are all technical and there is virtually no easy access to the material. For example, there are no abstracts at the front of each article of the sort we require of authors in PPPJ. Worse yet, the "Introduction" and "Synopsis" are bear-bones and terribly inadequate. Still, there is a useful index, and the bibliographic references can lead the reader off into all sorts of interesting directions.

What makes this book so important is that most of the papers report primary data. …

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