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Pediatr Res. 1995 Aug;38(2):262-6.

Neurodevelopmental quotient of healthy term infants at 4 months and feeding practice: the role of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Milan, Italy.


A direct influence of dietary long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) on the developmental quotient (DQ) of the healthy term infant remains unexplored. To test this hypothesis, we designed a prospective study of three types of diet. Twenty-nine infants received a LC-PUFA-supplemented formula, 31 received a standard infant formula, and 30 infants were breast-fed exclusively. Neurodevelopmental response was measured by the Brunet-Lézine psychomotor development test at 4 mo. The fatty acid status was also assessed among three diet subgroups (59 subjects) at 4 mo. Formula-fed infants who received LC-PUFA supplementation scored significantly higher (p < 0.01) on the Brunet-Lézine scale than infants who received the standard formula. Breast-fed infants also performed better than those fed the standard formula. Arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid levels in circulating lipids and erythrocyte phospholipids were higher among breast-fed infants and among the group fed the arachidonic- and docosahexaenoic acid-supplemented formula. These findings are suggestive that formula supplementation with one or both of these fatty acids can benefit term infants in neurodevelopmental performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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