February Research Roundup

14 February 2024 by Leanne Scott

February Research Roundup

Latest Health Research News

Here is your February 2024 round up of the latest in health related research.

1. Can Nutrients be just as effective as pharmaceutical medication for migraine?

Migraine, a prevalent headache in children, significantly impacts both the affected children and their families’ quality of life. Migraine can cause debilitating pain that can sometimes linger for up to four days. The management of migraine involves two approaches: preventative measures and the control of acute attacks. Various anti-depressant drugs such as amitriptyline are commonly prescribed for its effectiveness in headache control but accompanied by some adverse side effects. The quest for effective medications with fewer side effects has become increasingly crucial. This randomized clinical trial involved 72 patients aged 5-15 years diagnosed with migraine. The study aimed to compare the efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in reducing the frequency, duration, and severity of childhood migraines. A questionnaire was used to assess the participants quality of life.

The results showed that coenzyme Q10 demonstrated positive therapeutic effects in children, particularly with prolonged use. Amitriptyline exhibited a faster initial response, however after three months of treatment, the clinical outcomes in both groups did not significantly differ. Notably, children using amitriptyline reported more side effects compared to those using coenzyme Q10.

The results therefore suggest that coenzyme Q10, with fewer side effects and a similar therapeutic efficacy, could serve as a viable option for the treatment of childhood migraine headaches. Read the paper here.

2. An everyday vegetable supports microbiome health and can protect against inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease (CD) impact over 6 million individuals globally. CD is an immune-related bowel disease and is currently addressed with treatments that suppress the immune response and mitigate inflammation. However, a considerable number of patients do not respond to medication. The role of diet is crucial in preventing and managing IBD, as well as further reducing inflammation. Nonetheless, knowledge gaps exist regarding how IBD is controlled by the gut microbiota and diet.

In this study, mice were subjected to either a control diet or one containing raw broccoli sprouts, rich in the anti-inflammatory compound sulforaphane. The diets commenced seven days before and continued for two weeks after inoculation with Helicobacter hepaticus, a trigger for Crohn’s-like symptoms in immune-impaired mice. The raw broccoli sprout diet resulted in increased sulforaphane levels, a reduction in weight, fecal blood and diarrhea. Furthermore, the sprout diets enhanced microbiota function in the gut, by reducing the number of pathogenic bacteria associated with inflammation.

Overall, the study showed that immune-compromised mice show responsiveness to a raw broccoli sprout diet, highlighting its potential for further research on the interactions among diet, the microbiome and IBD.  Read the full study here.

3. Effectiveness of Pre-pregnancy lifestyle in preventing gestational diabetes mellitus - a systemic review and meta-analysis of 257,876 pregnancies'

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is characterized by high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) first detected at any point during pregnancy. GDM may cause adverse effects on the fetus before GDM diagnosis, so early diagnosis is critical.

The current management approach focuses mainly on diagnosis and treatment, and has not yet shifted to advice on whether it can be prevented. Lifestyle interventions have proven effective in preventing type-2 diabetes, suggesting their potential in preventing GDM. However, studies evaluating the impact of lifestyle interventions during pregnancy on GDM is inconsistent. The goal of this study was to summarize evidence from 30 studies encompassing 257,876 pregnancies looking at pre-pregnancy lifestyles and risk of GDM.

The paper concluded that specific elements of pre-pregnancy lifestyle interventions such as counselling, increased vegetable and fruit intake, adherence to a low carbohydrate/low sugar diet and elevated physical activity, can mitigate the risk of developing GDM. However, the evidence from randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) was limited, and the number of studies conducted in low- and middle-income countries was also insufficient. This emphasizes the necessity for well-designed RCTs that integrate various aspects of lifestyle interventions to properly understand whether GDM can be prevented. Read more here.

    Study Nutrition

    Leanne Scott

    Leanne is a Board Certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Integrative Health Coach and Director of NTA Australia/NewZealand. She hopes to transform the health of future generations through loving support and self empowerment. Find Leanne at