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DHA during pregnancy does not appear to improve cognitive outcomes for children, study indicates

Date:
May 4, 2014
Source:
The JAMA Network Journals
Summary:
Although there are recommendations for pregnant women to increase their intake of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to improve fetal brain development, a randomized trial finds that prenatal DHA supplementation did not result in improved cognitive, problem-solving or language abilities for children at four years of age.

Although there are recommendations for pregnant women to increase their intake of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to improve fetal brain development, a randomized trial finds that prenatal DHA supplementation did not result in improved cognitive, problem-solving or language abilities for children at four years of age, according to the study in the May 7 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child health. This issue is being released early to coincide with the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting.

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Maria Makrides, B.Sc., B.N.D., Ph.D., of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, Australia and colleagues conducted longer-term follow-up from a previously published study in which pregnant women received 800 mg/d of DHA or placebo. In the initial study, the researchers found that average cognitive, language, and motor scores did not differ between children at 18 months of age. For the follow-up study, outcomes were assessed at 4 years, a time point when any subtle effects on development should have emerged and can be more reliably assessed.

The majority (91.9 percent) of eligible families (DHA group, n = 313; control group, n = 333) participated in the follow-up. The authors found that measures of cognition, the ability to perform complex mental processing, language, and executive functioning (such as memory, reasoning, problem solving) did not differ significantly between groups.

"Our data do not support prenatal DHA supplementation to enhance early childhood development," the authors concluded.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria Makrides, Jacqueline F. Gould, Nicola R. Gawlik, Lisa N. Yelland, Lisa G. Smithers, Peter J. Anderson, Robert A. Gibson. Four-Year Follow-up of Children Born to Women in a Randomized Trial of Prenatal DHA Supplementation. JAMA, 2014; 311 (17): 1802 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.2194

Cite This Page:

The JAMA Network Journals. "DHA during pregnancy does not appear to improve cognitive outcomes for children, study indicates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140504095609.htm>.
The JAMA Network Journals. (2014, May 4). DHA during pregnancy does not appear to improve cognitive outcomes for children, study indicates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140504095609.htm
The JAMA Network Journals. "DHA during pregnancy does not appear to improve cognitive outcomes for children, study indicates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140504095609.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

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