UO Researchers in Cambodia testing benefits of maternal Vitamin B1 supplementation for infant development!

Cambodian Family
Expiration Date: 
Thursday, September 1, 2022

Dr. Jeffrey Measelle and Dr. Dare Baldwin, along with a team of UO graduate and undergraduate students, collaborated on a clinical trial led by Dr. Kyly Whitfield testing the efficacy of thiamine (Vitamin B1) supplementation in promoting developmental thriving for infants. Thiamine deficiency, common in Cambodia, is a threat to infants’ survival and well-being, putting them at risk of impaired neuro-cognitive development. Dr. Baldwin, Dr. Measelle, and their team helped to train Cambodian staff to collect measures of neuro-behavioral functioning and caregiver-infant interactions. The project was jointly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences.

As a large-scale trial, numerous publications and presentations have already emerged from this project. At UO, graduate and undergraduate students have produced multiple honors theses, master’s theses, and conference presentations. In one article, Measelle, Baldwin, and their colleagues (2021) reported that giving thiamine supplementation to nursing mothers benefited infants’ language development. In an article still under review, they examine this relationship in more depth.

In the future, Baldwin and Measelle hope to embark on data collection in Oregon, using the same set of neurobehavioral and caregiver-infant interaction tasks. They also hope to join the same team in Cambodia on the next step of the thiamine-supplementation research; namely, investigating benefits of population-level dietary fortification of thiamine for infant development.