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Supplemental, nutrient-enriched donor milk does not improve neurodevelopment in very low-birth-weight infants

Date:
November 8, 2016
Source:
The JAMA Network Journals
Summary:
Among very low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants, the use of supplemental donor milk compared with formula did not improve neurodevelopment at 18 months, according to a study.
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Among very low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants, the use of supplemental donor milk compared with formula did not improve neurodevelopment at 18 months, according to a study appearing in the November 8 issue of JAMA.

For many VLBW (less than 3.3 lbs.) infants, there is insufficient mother's milk, and a supplement of pasteurized donor human milk (donor milk) or preterm formula is required. With an increasing awareness of the benefits of mother's milk, use of donor milk as a supplement has increased substantially in North America. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America estimated that its members dispensed 3.8 million ounces of donor milk in 2015. Despite this shift in practice, there are limited data evaluating the efficacy of "nutrient-fortified" donor milk compared with preterm formula.

Deborah L. O'Connor, Ph.D., R.D., of the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and colleagues randomly assigned VLBW infants to be fed either nutrient-enriched donor milk or formula for 90 days or to discharge when mother's milk was unavailable. Infants were from 4 neonatal units in Ontario, Canada.

Of 840 eligible infants, 363 (43 percent) were randomized (181 to donor milk and 182 to preterm formula); of survivors, 299 (92 percent) had neurodevelopment assessed. Average birth weight and gestational age of infants was 2.2 lbs. and 28 weeks, respectively, and 54 percent were male. The researchers found that there were no statistically significant differences in average composite scores on measures of cognitive, language, or motor skills between groups.

"If donor milk is used in settings with high provision of mother's milk, this outcome [neurodevelopment] should not be considered a treatment goal," the authors write.

The researchers note that a recent systematic analysis of randomized studies found that donor milk as a supplement to mother's milk did however reduce the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, a severe gastrointestinal emergency. A similar reduction was found in the current study with the use of nutrient-enriched donor milk.


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Materials provided by The JAMA Network Journals. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Deborah L. O’Connor, Sharyn Gibbins, Alex Kiss, Nicole Bando, Joan Brennan-Donnan, Eugene Ng, Douglas M. Campbell, Simone Vaz, Christoph Fusch, Elizabeth Asztalos, Paige Church, Edmond Kelly, Linh Ly, Alan Daneman, Sharon Unger. Effect of Supplemental Donor Human Milk Compared With Preterm Formula on Neurodevelopment of Very Low-Birth-Weight Infants at 18 Months. JAMA, 2016; 316 (18): 1897 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.16144

Cite This Page:

The JAMA Network Journals. "Supplemental, nutrient-enriched donor milk does not improve neurodevelopment in very low-birth-weight infants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161108131623.htm>.
The JAMA Network Journals. (2016, November 8). Supplemental, nutrient-enriched donor milk does not improve neurodevelopment in very low-birth-weight infants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161108131623.htm
The JAMA Network Journals. "Supplemental, nutrient-enriched donor milk does not improve neurodevelopment in very low-birth-weight infants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161108131623.htm (accessed May 28, 2017).

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