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The mission of Sundar Serendipity Foundation is alleviation of micronutrient deficiencies. Working towards this goal , listed below are the activities of the foundation.
 
1. Improvement of the iron and iodine status in tea plantations:
We had worked with tea pluckers in tea plantations and had conducted a double blind randomized placebo controlled clinical studies in the communities of tea pluckers. The experimental group was given double fortified salt fortified with iron and iodine and the control group was given unfortified salt. Deworming was done in 50% of the population in both the experimental and control groups. There were about 500 tea pluckers in the experimental group and about 500 in the control group. There was a significant improvement of the hemoglobin in the experimental group and a concomitant improvement in the productivity- ie kilograms of tea leaves plucked by the pickers in the experimental group .

There was also a reduction in absenteeism in the experimental group when anaemia was alleviated. The plantations are areas where there is hookworm infestation and this study revealed the importance of deworming in such hookworm infested areas. It also revealed as to how a small investment in providing double fortified salt could help in increasing the productivity of the tea plantation. Publication: “Effects of salt fortified with iron and iodine on the hemoglobin levels and productivity of tea pluckers” – Food and Nutrition Bulletin – Sept. 2000, Vol 21, No.3, pages 323 to 329.

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2. Improving the nutritional status in preschool children :
In Tamilnadu, India, the Government has a nutritious noon meal scheme, wherein children are provided lunch in the schools where they study. Preschool children also attend day care centers where the children are provided lunch. We had provided a multiple micronutrient food supplement which contained many vitamins and minerals and which was added to the food cooked and supplied to the children in these centers. 2 centers in the same locality were chosen with about 100 children in each center. One served as the experimental and the other school served as the control. In the experimental school the multiple micronutrient food supplement was added to the food cooked for a period of 10 months. There was no such intervention in the control school. Clinitians checked for the presence of angular stomatitis due to B complex deficiencies and bitot spots for vitamin A deficiency. The biochemical parameters involved hemoglobin and serum vitamin A. At the end of 10 months it was seen that there was a significant improvement in serum vitamin A.

The hemoglobin values did not show increase or decrease in the experimental group but in the control group, there was a decrease in the hemoglobin status over 10 months. Angular stomatitis also disappeared in the experimental group where as there was no change in the status of angular stomatitis in the control group. Publication: . Poster presentation on” The effect of a multiple micronutrient food supplement on the nutritional status of preschool children” at at IVACG (International Vitamin A Consultative Group) meeting held on 12th –15thFeb. 2003 at Marrakech Morraco.
 
3.Improvement of nutritional status in communities in rural India:
In collaboration with BAIF, one of India’s oldest NGO’s multicentric trials were conducted in 7 villages covering 3 states on the efficacy of double fortified salt enriched with iron and iodine in combating iron deficiency anaemia and iodine deficiency. It was a single blind study with double fortified salt being given in the experimental households and iodised salt given in the control households in each of the 7 villages. Since it involved 3 states of the country, in some states rice was the predominant cereal whereas wheat was the primary cereal in other states. Despite this dietary diversity, the experimental group in all the states showed significant improvement in the hemoglobin when compared to the control. There was improvement in the urinary iodine in both the experimental and control groups. The sample size was 393 in the experiment group and 436 in the control group. Publication: “A multicenter community study on the efficacy of double fortified salt” – Food and Nutrition Bulletin – March 2007, Vol 28, No.1, pages 100 to 108.

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4.Improvement of the nutritional status of school children with multiple micronutrient fortified salt:
To study the effects of nutrition on cognition , this study was conducted in a school near Chennai, Tamilnadu. The children residing in the residential school constituted the experimental group where as day scholars who did not reside in the school but attended the day school and lived in nearby communities constituted the control group. A multiple micronutrient fortified salt was used in the cooking of all the meals for the children in the experimental group for a period of one year. The children in experimental and control groups were dewormed. No intervention was carried out in the control group. The children were matched for age, socioeconomic status and intelligence at baseline. The biochemical tests included hemoglobin , hematocrit, red cell count, urinary iodine and serum vitamin A. A battery of memory tests was given to test memory.

Attention was tested by the letter cancellation test. At the end of one year, the experimental group showed significant improvement in serum vitamin A, urinary iodine , hemoglobin and red cell count. The control group showed a significant decrease in hemoglobin , hematocrit, red cell count and urinary iodine. There was a significant improvement in the 5 of the 7 memory tests administered and in the letter cancellation test. Part of this study pertaining to angular stomatitis was published in the Sight and Life newsletter. Part of the study about the improvement of the cognitive effects in children has been published in the Asia Pacific journal of Clinical Nutrition september 2007 titled "Multiple micronutrient fortification of Salt and its effect on cognition in Chennai School children"

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Part of the study about the improvement of the biochemical parameters was published in the European journal of clinical nutrition, paper titled “ Multiple Micronutrient fortification of salt”

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5.Improvement of the nutritional status of school children with multiple micronutrient food supplement:
This study was also to test the effect of nutrition on cognition in school children. It was conducted in a school in Chennai. The children residing in the residential school constituted the experimental group where as day scholars who did not reside in the school but attended the day school and lived in nearby communities constituted the control group. The multiple micronutrient food supplement was used in cooking all the meals of the children for a period of one year. The children in experimental and control groups were dewormed. No intervention was carried out in the control group. The children were matched for age, socioeconomic status and intelligence at baseline. Biochemical tests involved hemoglobin, hematocrit and redcell count.

A battery of memory tests was given to test memory. Attention was tested by the letter cancellation test. At the end of one year, the experimental group showed significant improvement in hemoglobin hematocrit and redcell count, while the control group showed a significant decline in all these parameters. There was a significant improvement in most of the memory tests and in the letter cancellation test. Part of this study pertaining to angular stomatitis was published in the Sight and Life newsletter. Part of the study pertaining to improvement of cognition and memory scores was published in the Indian journal of pediatrics, july 2008.

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6.Improvement of the nutritional status in communities in Rural India through multipronged approach:
We have adopted a block in the state of Tamilnadu where with the help of another NGO, Family health and development research Service foundation, we are trying to improve the nutritional status by selling of the multiple micronutrient fortified salt , nutrition education and selling a multiple micronutrient fortified weaning food to cater to 0-3 year old children.
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7. Current project:
We are working in collaboration with a hospital in rural Tamilnadu to improve the nutritional status of pregnant women to see if there can be a reduction in the prevalence of low birth weight babies when micronutrient deficiencies are reduced due to the consumption of multiple micronutrient fortified salt because an important cause of low birth weight in babies is maternal micronutrient malnourishment, especially anaemia.
 
 
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