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PhD ceremony Ms. C. de Jong: The Groningen LCPUFA study. Associations between neonatal and early postnatal fatty acid status and developmental outcome at 9 years

When:We 13-11-2013 at 11:00

PhD ceremony: Ms. C. de Jong, 11.00 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: The Groningen LCPUFA study. Associations between neonatal and early postnatal fatty acid status and developmental outcome at 9 years

Promotor(s): prof. M. Hadders-Algra

Faculty: Medical Sciences

Fatty acids, in particular the so-called Long-Chain PolyUnsaturated Fatty Acids (LCPUFA) are essential in child development, but it is unclear whether supplementing formula with LCPUFA is beneficial for later development. The current thesis addresses this issue. The effect of supplementing formula with the LCPUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) during the first two months of life in healthy, term-born children on development at age nine was studied. Additionally, the relationship between various fatty acids in the umbilical cord and development at age nine is analyzed. The current study is the first to study the effects of early LCPUFA status on development at school age. Attention was paid to neuromotor, cognitive and behavioral development, height, weight, head circumference, blood pressure and heart rate.

LCPUFA supplementation of formula did not affect neuromotor, behavioral and physical development. It affected cognition in a complex way. Some cognitive abilities in children exposed to maternal smoking during pregnancy improved by LCPUFA supplemented formula, while some cognitive abilities of children not exposed to maternal smoking deteriorated slightly. The study confirmed the small positive association between breastfeeding and neuromotor and cognitive development and heart rate. Finally the study demonstrated a positive association between DHA level in the umbilical cord and neuromotor development. The study indicates that LCPUFA status prior to birth matters more for child development than LCPUFA supplementation of infant formula.

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