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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts |News Archive Aug 15, 2013

 

baby DHA food

Foods such as fish, dark leafy greens:spinach, brocolli, basil, even grains and nuts contain DHA.

Image credit: MouseWorks, Inc.






WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

DHA-enriched formula linked to better cognitive development

Infants fed formula enriched with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (DHA and ARA) from birth to 12 months, scored significantly better than a control group in intelligence performance tests between the ages of 3 to 6 years.


Children showed accelerated development on detailed tasks involving pattern discrimination, rule-learning and inhibition between the ages of 3 to 5 years of age as well as better performance on two widely used standardized tests of intelligence: the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test at age 5 and the Weschler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence at age 6.


“These results support the contention that studies of nutrition and cognition should include more comprehensive and sensitive assessments that are administered multiple times through early childhood,” said John Colombo, study director and University of Kansas (KU) professor of psychology.

The results of LCPUFA supplementation studies have been mixed according to Colombo, a neuroscientist who specializes in the measurement of early neurocognitive development, but many of those studies have relied mainly on children’s performance on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development at 18 months.

In the randomized, double-blind study, 81 infants were fed one of four formulas from birth to 12 months; three with varying levels of two LCPUFAs (DHA and ARA) and one formula with no LCPUFA. Beginning at 18 months, the children were tested every 6 months until 6 years of age on age-appropriate standardized and specific cognitive tests.

At 18 months the children did not perform any better on standardized tests of performance and intelligence, but by age 3, study directors Colombo and Susan E. Carlson, A. J. Rice Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition at KUMC, began to see significant differences in the performance of children who were fed the enriched formulas on finer-grained, laboratory-based measures of several aspects of cognitive function.


DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is an essential long-chain fatty acid that affects brain and eye development, and babies derive it from their mothers before birth and up to age 2. But the American diet is often deficient in DHA sources such as fish.

ARA or arachidonic acid is another LCPUFA that is present in breast milk and commercial formula.


The study was designed to examine the effects of postnatal DHA at levels that have been found to vary across the world, said study co-director Carlson.

The results on the children’s development from the first 12 months of this study were published in Pediatric Research in 2011, and they showed improved attention and lower heart rate in infants supplemented with any level of LCPUFA. Colombo and Carlson’s earlier work and collaborations influenced infant formula manufacturers to begin adding DHA in 2001.

The study was published ahead of print in the June 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Abstract
Background: The effect of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) intake on cognitive development is controversial. Most randomized trials have assessed cognition at 18 mo, although significant development of cognitive abilities (early executive function) emerge later.

Objective: The objective was to evaluate cognition beyond 18 mo and longitudinal cognitive change from 18 mo to 6 y in children who were fed variable amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (0.32%, 0.64%, and 0.96% of total fatty acids) and arachidonic acid (ARA; 0.64%) compared with children who were not fed LCPUFA as infants.

Design: Eighty-one children (19 placebo, 62 LCPUFA) who participated in a double-blind, randomized trial of LCPUFA supplementation as infants were re-enrolled at 18 mo and tested every 6 mo until 6 y on age-appropriate standardized and specific cognitive tests.

Results: LCPUFA supplementation did not influence performance on standardized tests of language and performance at 18 mo; however, significant positive effects were observed from 3 to 5 y on rule-learning and inhibition tasks, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test at 5 y, and the Weschler Primary Preschool Scales of Intelligence at 6 y. Effects of LCPUFAs were not found on tasks of spatial memory, simple inhibition, or advanced problem solving.

Conclusions: The data from this relatively small trial suggest that, although the effects of LCPUFAs may not always be evident on standardized developmental tasks at 18 mo, significant effects may emerge later on more specific or fine-grained tasks. The results imply that studies of nutrition and cognitive development should be powered to continue through early childhood. This parent trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00266825.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. The university's mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. The KU News Service is the central public relations office for the Lawrence campus.

Original press release: http://news.ku.edu/2013/08/13/dha-enriched-formula-infancy-linked-positive-cognitive-outcomes-childhood#sthash.CamGlJ0Q.dpuf