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Increase in Brain Volumes after Implementation of a Nutrition Regimen in Infants Born Extremely Preterm

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Pauline E. van Beek, Nathalie H.P. Claessens, Antonios Makropoulos, Floris Groenendaal, Linda S. de Vries, Serena J. Counsell, Manon J.N.L. Benders

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-63.e5
JournalJournal of pediatrics
PublishedAug 2020

King's Authors


Objective: To assess the effect of early life nutrition on structural brain development in 2 cohorts of extremely preterm infants, before and after the implementation of a nutrition regimen containing more protein and lipid. Study design: We included 178 infants retrospectively (median gestational age, 26.6 weeks; IQR, 25.9-27.3), of whom 99 received the old nutrition regimen (cohort A, 2011-2013) and 79 the new nutrition regimen (cohort B, 2013-2015). Intake of protein, lipids, and calories was calculated for the first 28 postnatal days. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed at 30 weeks postmenstrual age (IQR, 30.3-31.4) and term-equivalent age (IQR, 40.9-41.4). Volumes of 42 (left + right) brain structures were calculated. Results: Mean protein and caloric intake in cohort B (3.4 g/kg per day [P <.001] and 109 kcal/kg per day [P =.038]) was higher than in cohort A (2.7 g/kg per day; 104 kcal/kg per day). At 30 weeks, 22 regions were significantly larger in cohort B compared with cohort A, whereas at term-equivalent age, only the caudate nucleus was significantly larger in cohort B compared with cohort A. Conclusions: An optimized nutrition protocol in the first 28 days of life is associated with temporarily improved early life brain volumes.

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