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

nd formula, or formula alone during this period.

The DHA and AA (also referred to as ARA) included in the infant formula were manufactured by Martek Biosciences Corp. The supplement given to the breast feeding mothers was not provided by Martek. Martek was not involved in the design, management or evaluation of the study.

At 18 months of age, the 657 infant subjects were evaluated using standard development tests. A preplanned analysis by gender found that premature girls on the high DHA diet achieved a mean score approximately five points higher on the mental development test than the girls receiving the standard DHA diet, resulting in approximately a 55 % reduction in mild mental delay and approximately an 80% reduction in significant mental delay, which were statistically significant improvements versus the control group. However, the same benefit was not found in the male infants, resulting in no statistically significant differences overall between all infants on high-dose DHA versus the control group.

The reason for the gender difference is unclear. The authors theorize that male infants may need a higher level of DHA than female infants in order to see benefit.

"Infants born prematurely do not have time to accumulate DHA to the same level as their full-term counterparts and this research indicates the requirements of DHA may be even higher for pre-term infants than previously thought," said Dr. Maria Makrides, the study's lead researcher and Deputy Director of the Women and Children's Health Research Institute, Adelaide, and professor of human nutrition, University of Adleaide in Australia. "We think the level of DHA used in this study should become the new 'gold standard' for preterm infants, whether it is supplied through breast milk or infant formula."

According to the study authors, the improvement in the developmental scores of the female infants may "...point the way
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SOURCE Martek Biosciences Corporation
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