Breakthrough in treating premature babies at risk of developmental disorders
In the run up to the New Year’s Eve festivities a scientist in Britain has chosen an opportune moment to warn revellers that drinking alcohol, even in relatively small amounts, can increase a tipplers risk of developing cancer. Dr. Rachel Thompson, from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) says that a large glass of
Full Post: Time to celebrate? Be warned! One tipple a day increases the risk of cancer
Adelaide researchers have made a world breakthrough in treating premature babies at risk of developmental disorders.
A six-year study led by Dr Maria Makrides from the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute and Professor Bob Gibson from the University of Adelaide has demonstrated that high doses of fatty acids administered to pre-term infants via their mother’s breast milk or infant formula can help their mental development.
The findings were published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA ).
Researchers found that a major lipid in the brain - the omega-3 fatty acid known as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - is not developed sufficiently in babies born before 33 weeks’ gestation, leading to possible impaired mental development.
To counter this, increased doses of DHA (1000mg per day) were administered to lactating mothers with pre-term infants, in the form of tuna oil capsules. If required, infants were given supplementary formula with matching DHA levels.
Of 657 premature babies tested in a trial involving five Australian hospitals, about 50% fewer infants on high-DHA diets had significantly delayed mental development compared with low DHA diets.
Premature girls in particular who were exposed to DHA-rich diets showed much better mental development than girls fed the low DHA diet.
Professor Gibson said his team was at a loss to explain why premature male babies - who are more susceptible to cognitive problems - did not respond to the same extent, with no obvious differences in mental development between the control group and those administered high doses of DHA.
“Boys may have a faster metabolic rate than girls and need higher doses of DHA to make a difference,” he said. “We need to do a lot more work in this area to find out why.”
Infants weighing less than 1250gm (about a third of a full-term baby’s weight) who were fed a high-DHA diet also scored better on the mental development scale, with a 40% reduction in the incidence of mild mental delay.
According to a study by Australian researchers premature babies who were given high doses of omega-3 fatty acid were less likely to have developmental delays - but this only applied to baby girls. Premature babies are often born before their brains have fully developed and some are thought to have inadequate DHA while their
Full Post: Fish oil helps premmie baby girls avoid learning disabilities
Preterm infant girls who received a high amount of dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; an omega-3 fatty acid) had higher measures of neurodevelopment than preterm girls who received a standard amount of DHA, but this effect was not seen among preterm boys, according to a study in the January 14 issue of JAMA: The Journal Of
Full Post: Certain fatty acids help neurodevelopment for preterm girls
Giving pregnant mothers magnesium sulphate when they are at risk of very preterm birth can help protect their babies from cerebral palsy, according to an international review of research involving the University of Adelaide, Australia. The findings of this review - published today on the international research website The Cochrane Library - could help decrease
Full Post: Magnesium sulphate protects babies against cerebral palsy
After a doctor at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital tested positive for tuberculosis (TB), authorities say as many as 300 babies have been identified who may have come into contact with the doctor and could be at risk. About 75 of the children are too young to be tested but have been given preventive
Full Post: As many as 300 children could be at risk of TB from hospital doctor
Diets that are high in protein and cereal grains produce an excess of acid in the body which may increase calcium excretion and weaken bones, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). The study found that increasing the alkali content of the diet,
Full Post: More alkaline diet strengthens skeletal health