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Developmental biology - Premature Birth

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Risk of Premature Birth

Premature birth is the leading cause of death for children under 5 years old worldwide...

Premature birth is the leading cause of death for children under 5 years old worldwide, accounting for close to one million deaths annually. Premature babies are at higher risk of a range of long-term conditions including visual impairment, developmental delay and learning difficulties. A new Cochrane Review has found increasing the intake of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) during pregnancy reduces their risk.
"We know premature birth is a critical global health issue, with an estimated 15 million babies born too early each year. The length of most pregnancies is between 38 and 42 weeks, but premature babies are born before the 37-week - the earlier a baby is born, the greater risk of death or poor health."

Philippa Middleton PhD, Associate Professor, Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth; South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Australia.

Associate Professor Middleton and a team of Cochrane researchers have been looking closely at long-chain omega-3 fats and their role in reducing the risk of premature births - particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements.

Looking at 70 randomised trials, researchers find for pregnant women, increasing daily intake of long-chain omega-3s:

• Lowers risk of premature baby (less than 37 weeks) by 11%
(from 134 births per 1000 to 119 births per 1000)

• Lowers risk of early premature baby (less than 34 weeks) by 42%
(from 46 births per 1000 to 27 births per 1000 births)

• Reduces risk of having a small baby (less than 2500g) by 10%

Middleton: "Many pregnant women in the UK already take omega-3 supplements by personal choice rather than as a result of advice from health professionals. It's worth noting though, many supplements currently on the market do not contain the optimal dose or type of omega-3 for preventing premature birth."
"Our review found the optimum dose was a daily supplement containing between 500 and 1000 milligrams (mg) of long-chain omega-3 fats (containing at least 500mg of DHA) starting at 12 weeks of pregnancy."

Philippa Middleton PhD

A team from SAHMRI, including Cochrane researchers from the omega-3 review, have used these findings to develop resources and information about omega-3 fatty acids for pregnant women and health professionals that can be accessed online at the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 11 under the title: "Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy".

Knowing which proteins and RNAs directly interact is essential for understanding cellular mechanisms. Unfortunately, discovering such interactions is costly and often unreliable. To overcome these limitations, we developed rec-YnH, a new yeast two and three-hybrid-based screening pipeline capable of detecting interactions within protein libraries or between protein libraries and RNA fragment pools. rec-YnH combines batch cloning and transformation with intracellular homologous recombination to generate bait–prey fusion libraries. By developing interaction selection in liquid–gels and using an ORF sequence-based readout of interactions via next-generation sequencing, we eliminate laborious plating and barcoding steps required by existing methods. We use rec-Y2H to simultaneously map interactions of protein domains and reveal novel putative interactors of PAR proteins. We further employ rec-Y2H to predict the architecture of published coprecipitated complexes. Finally, we use rec-Y3H to map interactions between multiple RNA-binding proteins and RNAs—the first time interactions between protein and RNA pools are simultaneously detected.

Middleton P, Gomersall JC, Gould JF, Shepherd E, Olsen SF, Makrides M.

Citation: Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD003402. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003402.pub3

About Cochrane
Cochrane is a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health. Cochrane produces reviews which study all of the best available evidence generated through research and make it easier to inform decisions about health. These are called systematic reviews. Cochrane is a not-for profit organization with collaborators from more than 130 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Our work is recognized as representing an international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Wiley is a global leader in research and education. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, and our digital learning, assessment, certification and student-lifecycle services and solutions help universities, academic societies, businesses, governments and individuals to achieve their academic and professional goals. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at http://www.wiley.com.

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Nov 20, 2018   Fetal Timeline   Maternal Timeline   News   News Archive

In 2006, Cochrane review did not find enough evidence to support routine use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements in pregnancy. Today, a decade later, an updated review finds high quality evidence for omega-3 supplementation effective in preventing preterm birth. Credit: Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth; South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

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