Prenatal and Infant Health

DHA-Triglycerides Reduce Brain Damage by Half in A Model of Neonatal Stroke

Less well known than adult strokes are those occurring in infants. They may affect up to 1,700 infants in the U.S. each year. Pediatric strokes are often related to changes in hemostasis in the mother or the placenta, particularly around the time of birth. An infant experiencing a stroke faces an increased risk of long-term neurological disability, particularly cerebral palsy. Faced with possible life-long neurological damage, infants could benefit considerably from interventions that limit the cellular and tissue damage from these strokes when they happen. A promising candidate for reducing…

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Effect of Breastfeeding and FADS Genes on Infant DHA Status at 9 Months of Age

The importance of long-chain (LC) PUFAs in pregnancy and early infancy is well recognized. The mother’s dietary intake largely determines her tissue stores and the concentration of these fatty acids in her breast milk. Maternal transfer during the last trimester of pregnancy and breastfeeding ensure that the infant obtains the necessary LC-PUFAs for growth, brain structure and development. Maternal diet, specifically fish intake or supplementation with omega-3 (n-3) LC-PUFAs, is the key to providing adequate amounts of n-3 LC-PUFAs for the infant. The other possible source of n-3 LC-PUFAs for…

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Depressive Symptoms Not Prevented by EPA or DHA Supplementation in Pregnancy

Perinatal depressive illness has implications for pregnancy outcomes, the development of a healthy mother-child relationship, infant and child development and the mother’s ability to cope with the stress of caring for a newborn. Prevalence estimates suggest that major and minor episodes of depressive symptoms during pregnancy and the first year after delivery affect 12 to 16% of women, with occurrences more frequent during pregnancy than after delivery and among women with a history of mental disorders. Although some medications, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are increasingly prescribed for pregnant women,…

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Low Plasma Omega-3s Linked to Callous Traits and Faulty Emotion Processing in ADHD Boys

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) entails a complex set of disturbances and behaviors that impairs a person’s ability to function and increases the chances that the symptoms will persist to adulthood and predispose to poor occupational functioning. ADHD has been described by the American Psychiatric Association in its newly revised diagnostic manual DSM-V as a pattern of [developmentally inappropriate] behavior that includes at least 6 symptoms from either or both of the inattentive or hyperactivity and impulsivity clusters of behaviors. These symptoms often occur along with learning difficulties, conduct disorder,…

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Math Scores in 28 Countries Associated with Breast Milk DHA

Several observational studies have reported that infants and children of mothers who had higher intakes of fish or n-3 LC-PUFAs in pregnancy score higher on cognitive and behavioral tests than children of mothers with low intakes. In the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, the children of mothers with higher fish consumption were significantly less likely to have low verbal IQ scores and were more likely to have higher scores for social development, prosocial behavior, communication and fine motor skills. Greater maternal fish consumption was also associated with higher…

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Plasma Levels of n-6 PUFAs in Pregnancy Associated with Greater Fat in Offspring

The effects of maternal diet and nutrition during pregnancy may reach into adulthood in the offspring. For example, maternal under- or over-nutrition and diabetes have been associated with greater adiposity in the child. Catchup growth after intrauterine growth restriction has been associated with alterations in the expression of insulin-signaling proteins, which may foreshadow insulin resistance. Western-style diets high in linoleic acid have been associated with greater fat mass in successive generations of experimental animals and may be implicated in human obesity. The effects on body composition of maternal and infant…

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Obesity Associated with Lower n-3 PUFAs, EPA and DHA in Breast Milk

Factors associated with childhood obesity may relate to conditions in utero. For instance, maternal obesity in pregnancy and excess gestational weight gain have been associated with greater fat mass and percent body fat in the neonate. As suggested in the preceding article, a child’s greater fat mass may also be related to the mother’s plasma n-6 PUFA and linoleic acid concentrations in late pregnancy. Low birthweight has also been associated with a higher risk of central obesity in adulthood. On the other hand, breastfeeding has been associated with a lower…

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Fish Consumption in Pregnancy: Linked to Less Childhood Asthma

The incidence of asthma has been increasing worldwide and now affects about 193 million individuals globally. In Denmark, the prevalence of asthma doubled from 5.3% to 11.7% over the period from 1986 to 2001. Recognized as a heterogeneous condition, asthma often follows persistent childhood wheeze.  Among the factors related to the development of asthma, are maternal history of asthma, maternal smoking and air pollution, presence of hay fever, eczema, female sex, exercise and more recently, low birthweight. Links to maternal diet in pregnancy, especially dietary fat, have been explored at…

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Fish Consumption in Infancy: Associated with Less Childhood Wheeze

Evidence for a relationship between a mother’s consumption of fish, especially fatty fish, during pregnancy and the risk of her child developing asthma in childhood is inconsistent. Consumption of fish oil during pregnancy was associated with a significantly lower rate of allergic asthma at age 16 years. Some studies reported a lower occurrence of wheeze or asthma in early childhood or decreased severity of the condition among infants and children at high-risk of developing asthma, but others observed no effect. A few studies reported a lower risk of asthma or…

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n-3 LC-PUFA But Not Fish Intakes in Young Adults: Linked to Lower Risk of Asthma

The prevalence of asthma in the U.S. increased from 7.3 to 8.2% during 2001 to 2009, and now afflicts about 25 million persons, or one in 12. On a global basis, some 193 million adults suffer from asthma. The prevalence is highest in the Americas and among poor U.S. children at 13.5%. Only about one-third of U.S. individuals with asthma use long-term medications to control their condition, indicating substantial need for improved health care. A combination of environmental factors and genetics contributes to the condition. In susceptible individuals, allergens such…

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