Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Intake Of Certain Fatty Acid Appears To Improve Neurodevelopment For Preterm Girls, But Not Boys

Date:
January 18, 2009
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
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 Jan. 14 issue of JAMA.

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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Makrides et al. Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Preterm Infants Fed High-Dose Docosahexaenoic Acid. JAMA, 2009; 301 (2): 175-182 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Intake Of Certain Fatty Acid Appears To Improve Neurodevelopment For Preterm Girls, But Not Boys." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090113174430.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2009, January 18). Intake Of Certain Fatty Acid Appears To Improve Neurodevelopment For Preterm Girls, But Not Boys. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090113174430.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Intake Of Certain Fatty Acid Appears To Improve Neurodevelopment For Preterm Girls, But Not Boys." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090113174430.htm (accessed April 17, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 17, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) At least 1 in 5,000 U.S. babies are born each year with intersex conditions _ ambiguous genitals because of genetic glitches or hormone problems. Secrecy and surgery are common. But some doctors and activists are trying to change things. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins