Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and neurological developmental outcome at 18 months in healthy term infants

H Bouwstra, DAJ Dijck-Brouwer, G Boehm, ER Boersma, FAJ Muskiet, M Hadders-Algra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Previously, we found a beneficial effect of 2 mo supplementation of infant formula with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) on neurological condition at 3 mo in healthy term infants. The aim of the present follow-up study was to evaluate whether the effect on neurological condition persists until 18 mo. Methods: A prospective, double-blind, randomized control study was conducted. Three groups were formed: a control (CF; n = 169), an LC-PUFA-supplemented (LF; n = 146) and a breastfed (BF; n = 159) group. Information on potential confounders was collected at enrolment. At the age of 18 mo, neurodevelopmental condition was assessed by the age-specific neurological examination of Hempel and the Bayley scales. The Hempel assessment resulted in a clinical neurological diagnosis, a total optimality score and a score on the fluency of motility. The Bayley scales resulted in mental and psychomotor developmental indices. Attrition at 18 mo was 5.5% and non-selective. Multivariate regression analyses were carried out to evaluate the effect of type of feeding while adjusting for confounders. Results: None of the children had developed cerebral palsy and 23 (CF: n = 83 LF: n = 10; BF: n = 5) showed minor neurological dysfunction. The groups did not show statistically significant differences in clinical neurological condition, neurological optimality score, fluency score, and the psychomotor and mental development indices. Multivariate analysis confirmed that there was no effect of type of feeding on neurological condition.

Conclusion: This study indicates that the beneficial neurodevelopmental effect of 2 mo LC-PUFA supplementation in healthy term infants can not be detected at the age of 18 mo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalActa Paediatrica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2005


  • term infants
  • neurological development
  • cognition
  • toddler
  • AGE

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