Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breakthrough In Treating Premature Babies: Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplement

Date:
January 14, 2009
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
Researchers have made a breakthrough in treating premature babies at risk of developmental disorders. 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.

Adelaide researchers have made a world breakthrough in treating premature babies at risk of developmental disorders.
Credit: iStockphoto/Gert Vrey

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 & 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.

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.

The project was primarily funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, with the University of Adelaide and Women's and Children's Health Research Institute (WCHRI) now in the process of formalising a joint venture agreement in the area of food, nutrition and health.

The findings were published January 14 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Breakthrough In Treating Premature Babies: Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplement." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090114092844.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2009, January 14). Breakthrough In Treating Premature Babies: Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplement. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090114092844.htm
University of Adelaide. "Breakthrough In Treating Premature Babies: Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplement." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090114092844.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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