Certain fatty acids help neurodevelopment for preterm girls
Individuals reporting a history of periodontal disease were more likely to have increased levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease, compared to those who reported no history of periodontal disease, according to an American Journal of Cardiology report available online today. Led by investigators from Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the
Full Post: Presence of gum disease may help dentists and physicians identify risk of cardiovascular disease
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 the American Medical Association.
Infants born before 33 weeks’ gestation are at high risk of developmental disorders and learning disabilities. An inadequate nutrient supply during the newborn period is believed to contribute to this poor developmental outcome, according to background information in the article. DHA deficiency is hypothesized to result in poor neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants, but uncertainty exists about the benefit of dietary DHA.
Maria Makrides, B.Sc., B.N.D., Ph.D., of Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to determine the effect of high-dose dietary DHA on neurological outcomes in preterm infants. The study included infants born at less than 33 weeks’ gestation from five Australian hospitals. Of the 657 infants enrolled, 93.5 percent completed the 18-month follow-up.
The infants were randomized to high-DHA (approximately 1 percent total fatty acids) compared with standard DHA (approximately 0.3 percent total fatty acids) from day 2 to 4 of life until the infants reached their expected date of delivery. The infants received DHA from either breast milk or infant formula. Lactating mothers allocated to the high-DHA group were asked to consume six 500-mg DHA-rich tuna oil capsules per day to achieve a high breast milk DHA concentration. If supplementary formula was required, infants were given a high-DHA preterm formula. Mothers with infants allocated to the standard-DHA group were asked to consume six 500-mg placebo soy oil capsules that did not change the fat content or fatty acid composition of their milk.
To measure neurological development, the researchers used the Bayley Mental Development Index (MDI), which evaluates memory, problem solving, early number concepts and language. They found that the average MDI score did not differ between the high-DHA and standard-DHA groups, but that the MDI score among girls fed the high-DHA diet was significantly higher than among girls fed the standard-DHA diet, while the MDI score among boys did not differ between groups.
“The lack of responsiveness of boys to the intervention is puzzling, and the reasons are unclear ?,” the authors write.
The MDI score among infants born weighing less than 2.8 lbs. and fed a high-DHA diet until the expected date of delivery was higher than that of infants fed standard-DHA diets in the unadjusted comparison, but did not reach statistical significance following adjustment for gestational age, sex, maternal education, and birth order. The MDI score of infants born weighing at least 2.8 lbs. did not differ between groups.
An evaluation of movement abilities found no significant difference between groups.
Additional analyses indicated that, overall, fewer infants had significantly delayed mental development with high-DHA diets compared with standard DHA and that there were fewer girls with mild and significant mental delay in the high-DHA group relative to the standard-DHA group, but there were no differences among the boys.
“Infants ranged in gestational age from 23 to 33 weeks and, thus, had a range of nutritional stressors, organ immaturity, and [illnesses]. Despite this, the intervention was sufficiently robust to consistently elicit an improvement in the MDI scores of girls and may point the way for higher-dose interventions in future studies. Given the lack of an alternative therapy for cognitive delay in this group of infants and the apparent safety of the current dose of DHA, further studies are warranted,” the authors conclude.
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
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
Full Post: Breakthrough in treating premature babies at risk of developmental disorders
New government statistics confirm that the decades-long rise in the United States preterm birth rate continues, putting more infants than ever at increased risk of death and disability. Nearly 543,000 babies were born too soon in 2006, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which today released “Births: Final data for 2006,” National Vital
Full Post: United States preterm birth rate continues to rise
More than half a million babies are born preterm in the United States each year, and preterm births are on the rise. Late preterm births, or births that occur between 34 and 36 weeks (approximately 4 to 6 weeks before the mother’s due date), account for more than 70% of preterm births. Despite the large
Full Post: Serious health problems related to late preterm births
Babies born to HIV-positive mothers and given the antiretroviral drug nevirapine through the first six weeks of life to prevent infection via breast-feeding are at high risk for developing drug-resistant HIV if they get infected anyway, a team of researchers report. But the investigators highlight the proven superiority of the six-week regimen in preventing mother-to-child
Full Post: Prolonged nevirapine in breast-fed babies prevents HIV infection but leads to drug-resistant HIV