IQ Scores at Age 5 Years Higher When Preemies Receive DHA Supplement

Full-scale IQ scores at 5 years of age modestly higher among children born before 29 weeks of gestation who had received enteral emulsion with versus without DHA as neonates
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THURSDAY, Oct. 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- An enteral emulsion providing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to infants born before 29 weeks of gestation results in modestly higher full-scale IQ (FSIQ) scores at 5 years of age, according to a study published in the Oct. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Jacqueline F. Gould, Ph.D., from South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide, and colleagues examined the impact of DHA on subsequent cognitive development in a trial in which infants born before 29 weeks of gestation were randomly assigned to receive an enteral emulsion that provided 60 mg DHA/kg body weight per day or a control emulsion until 36 weeks of postmenstrual age or discharge home. Children from five of the 13 centers in the original trial were invited to undergo assessments with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) at a corrected age of 5 years.

Overall, 480 children had an FSIQ score available: 241 and 239 in the DHA and control groups, respectively. The researchers found that the mean FSIQ scores were 95.4 ± 17.3 in the DHA group and 91.9 ± 19.1 in the control group after imputation of missing data (adjusted difference, 3.45; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.38 to 6.53; P = 0.03). The results for the secondary outcomes, which included components of the WPPSI, generally did not support results obtained for the primary outcome (FSIQ).

"Our follow-up study showed that an enteral emulsion of DHA at a dose of 60 mg per kilogram per day was associated with modestly higher FSIQ scores at 5 years of age among infants born before 29 weeks’ gestation than a control emulsion," the authors write.

The study was partially funded by Nu-Mega Ingredients.

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