Nutrition, Growth, Brain Volume, and Neurodevelopment in Very Preterm Children

Victoria A. Power, Alicia J. Spittle, Katherine J. Lee, Peter J. Anderson, Deanne K. Thompson, Lex W. Doyle, Jeanie L.Y. Cheong

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Objective: To explore the associations between nutrition in the first 28 days after birth with somatic growth from birth to term-equivalent age, brain volumes at term-equivalent age, and neurodevelopment at 24 months of corrected age. Study design: Prospective cohort study of 149 infants born from 2011 to 2014 at <30 weeks of gestation in a tertiary neonatal nursery in Australia. The following data were collected: average daily energy, protein, fat, and carbohydrate intakes from birth until 28 days, and the difference in weight and head circumference z scores between birth and term-equivalent. Total brain tissue volumes were calculated from brain magnetic resonance imaging at term-equivalent age. Children were assessed at 2 years of corrected age with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-Third Edition. Relationships of nutritional variables with growth, brain volumes, and cognitive, language, and motor development were explored using linear regression. Results: Complete nutritional data were available for 116 (78%) of the cohort. A 1 g/kg/day higher mean protein intake was associated with a mean increase in weight z score per week of 0.05 (95% CI 0.05, 0.10; P = .04). There was a lack of evidence for associations of any nutritional variables with head circumference growth, with brain volumes at term-equivalent age, or with 2-year neurodevelopment. Conclusions: Only higher protein intakes in the first 28 days after birth were associated with better weight growth between birth and term-equivalent age in very preterm infants. Nutrition in the first 28 days was otherwise not substantially related to brain size or to neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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Power, V. A., Spittle, A. J., Lee, K. J., Anderson, P. J., Thompson, D. K., Doyle, L. W., & Cheong, J. L. Y. (2019). Nutrition, Growth, Brain Volume, and Neurodevelopment in Very Preterm Children. Journal of Pediatrics, 215, 50-55.