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Vitamin A may reduce infant death risk
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In a new study in India, vitamin A supplements given in the early newborn period reduced the risk of infant deaths from diarrhea, fever and respiratory infections, but did not reduce the occurrence of these problems, media reports said Wednesday.

Dr. James M. Tielsch from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and his team at the Aravind Centre for Women, Children and Community Health in Madurai, south India, randomly assigned 5,786 newborns to receive vitamin A supplements within the first 48 hours after birth and 5,833 newborns to receive placebo.

After six months, death rates due to diarrhea and fever were markedly lower among vitamin A-received infants compared with those given placebo. There was also evidence that vitamin A reduced the risk of death from respiratory infection. However, vitamin A supplementation did not reduce the occurrence of these disease, Tielsch said.

The general approach to reduce mortality was a preventive intervention which would be to provide vitamin A to all newborns, he added.

(Agencies via Xinhua December 14, 2007)

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