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New Study: Higher DHA Levels Improve Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Premature Girls
Date:1/26/2009

COLUMBIA, Md., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tripling the level of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in the early diet of some of the smallest infants born prematurely improved the neurodevelopment outcome of girls, according to a study published in the January 14, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). DHA is an important nutrient for brain, eye and overall infant development that is normally found in mother's milk and, in recent years, in infant formulas.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, "Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Preterm Infants Fed High-Dose Docosahexaenoic Acid," compared the effects of a high concentration DHA diet with a standard DHA diet in premature infants born earlier than 33 weeks. Mothers participating in the study were encouraged to provide breast milk for their premature infants. An infant formula was available for mothers who could not provide breast milk or when additional nutrition was required.

The mothers of infants receiving breast milk were given either DHA supplements (900 mg per day) to increase the DHA levels of their milk or a matching placebo. The breast milk DHA level in the placebo treated mothers was approximately 0.25% (of total fatty acids) while that of the DHA treated mothers was approximately 0.85% (of total fatty acids).

Infants receiving formula were given either high concentration DHA infant formula (DHA= approximately 1.1% of total fatty acids) or standard DHA preterm formula (DHA = approximately 0.42% of total fatty acids). Both infant formulas also contained the omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid (AA), another fatty acid important for infant development.

Enhanced or standard DHA supplementation was utilized until the expected full term delivery date (approximately nine weeks after birth). Infants received either breast milk exclusively, or a combination of breast milk a
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SOURCE Martek Biosciences Corporation
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