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Early Hum Dev. 1992 Oct;30(3):183-91.

Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and fetal growth.

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Joint Academic Department of Child Health, Medical College of St Bartholomew, London, UK.


Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid composition of plasma choline phosphoglycerides has been measured at birth in 22 preterm infants. Positive correlations were found between both n-6 and n-3 fatty acids and measurements of growth and maturation. 20:4(n-6) and the sum of 20:3(n-6) + 20:4(n-6) correlated most strongly with weight and head circumference, while 22:6(n-3) showed strongest correlation with length of gestation. These findings are of relevance to understanding the role of nutrition in fetal growth and in establishing the group of infants most at risk of postnatal deficiency of essential fatty acids.

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