DHA for the Improvement of Neurodevelopmental Outcome in preterm infants: The DINO Trial [ 2003 - 2007 ]

Also known as: DHA intake & neurodevelopment of preterm infants

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Maria Makrides (Principal investigator) ,  Dr Andrew Mcphee Prof Karen Simmer Prof Peter Davis Prof Robert Gibson
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Brief description The incidence of neurological problems that occur in children born prematurely is higher than for those born at term. The earlier that a baby is born, the greater chance it has of having some developmental delay and general inability to cope at school. This has implications for the child, the families and the health system. One of the many dietary factors implicated in the development of neural abilities in premature infants is an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. This compound is present in breast milk and most preterm formulas and is found in high concentrations in the brain and retina. In the last third of pregnancy the developing baby would normally accumulate DHA at a rapid rate. So it seems reasonable to assume that a baby outside the mother, that is born premature, would also need to accumulate DHA at this same rate. The problem is that none of the milks currently given to premature infants have DHA in high enough concentration to supply this amount of DHA to the baby. For example, breast milk and preterm formulas contain only a third of the DHA required. In order to provide this amount for the premature infant, breast milk containing DHA at about 1% of the total fat is required. Fortunately the level of DHA in breast milk can be increased to this level by supplementing the mothers diet with fish or olis like tuna oil. This study hopes to show that premature babies who receive DHA in amounts similar to that supplied in the womb will develop better than babies who receive low amounts of DHA.

Funding Amount $AUD 631,875.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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