Impact of maternal dietary pomegranate juice on brain injury
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Researchers at Women's Hospital have found evidence that drinking pomegranate juice daily may reduce the risk of brain injury in intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) infants, especially during the 3rd trimester when the infant brain may be particularly vulnerable.

Researchers recently reported altered white matter microstructure and functional connectivity in the infant brain following in utero pomegranate juice exposure in pregnancies with IUGR. This double-blind exploratory randomized controlled trial further investigates the impact of maternal pomegranate juice intake on brain structure and injury in the second cohort of IUGR pregnancies diagnosed at 24–34 weeks’ gestation.

Ninety-nine mothers and their eligible fetuses were recruited from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and randomly assigned to 8 oz pomegranate or placebo juice to be consumed daily from enrollment to delivery. A subset of participants underwent a fetal echocardiogram after 2 weeks on juice with no evidence of ductal constriction. 57 infants underwent term-equivalent MRI for assessment of brain injury, volumes, and white matter diffusion.

No significant group differences were found in brain volumes or white matter microstructure; however, infants whose mothers consumed pomegranate juice demonstrated a lower risk for brain injury, including any white or cortical grey matter injury compared to placebo.

These preliminary findings suggest pomegranate juice may be a safe in utero neuroprotectant in pregnancies with known IUGR.

Scientific Reports