This is terrible secondary coverage (I don't know why they persist in calling magnesium sulfate epsom salt, but hey, if it makes 'em happy):
Abstract of article here:
Short form: Magnesium sulfate drip for premature labor mothers reduces rate/severity of CP in babies who survive, without increasing rate of death (or, unfortunately, decreasing the rate of death).
That's pretty cool!
And while I will grant that the mechanism is as yet obscure (well, other than the fact that probably we're all walking around with worse and worse magnesium deficiency problems anyway), this at least passes the sniff test. Prematurity is associated with HELLP or wtf you want to call it (PIH, toxemia, preeclampsia, eclampsia...) and treated with magnesium sulfate. Prematurity is associated with CP. CP is associated with HELLP.
I'll see if I can find better coverage.
As for the magnesium deficiency issue: processing tends to destroy magnesium, need for it increases during pregnancy, calcium supplementation may crowd out magnesium, some common meds mess with magnesium, artificial fertilizers tend to deplete soils of magnesium . . . need I go on?
Moral of the story: eat your greens. But you knew that. That's _always_ the moral of the story. And your beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains. And, just to make it all go down a little easier, bananas and chocolate.
It would be interesting to see more of a push for pregnant women (or women trying to conceive) to supplement magnesium, the way they are currently pushed hard to supplement folate (iron, calcium, etc.). Prenatal vitamins vary widely and I can make no claim about whether they typically contain magnesium. I would observe that the one I'm taking does (and I'm supplementing mag/cal separately at a 2-1 ratio -- you can see where this ties into long-standing biases for me) and that magnesium does not occur on typical lists of what a prenatal "should" contain.
This is all kind of stupid, really. Magnesium has a laxative effect (remember: take MoM in the PM for a BM in the AM. . .) where a lot of what is in the standard supplement package for pregnant women has a constipating effect. You'd think they'd add it just to minimize side effects. *sigh*
ETA: I am so enamored of this idea (encouraging pregnant women who are contemplating supplementation to include magnesium in their supplementation) that I've modified the book.