Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids at birth and cognitive function at 7 y of age

E.C. Bakker*, A.J. Ghys, A.D.M. Kester, J.S.H. Vles, J.S. Dubas, C.E. Blanco, G. Hornstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids at birth and cognitive function at 7 y of age.

Bakker EC, Ghys AJ, Kester AD, Vles JS, Dubas JS, Blanco CE, Hornstra G.

Department of Human Biology, Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands. e.bakker@hb.unimaas.nl

OBJECTIVE: During the central nervous system (CNS) growth spurt, rapid accretion of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) takes place. This particularly concerns docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) and arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n-6), which are thought to play important roles in CNS development and function. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between cognitive performance at 7 y of age and LCPUFA levels in umbilical venous plasma phospholipids, representing the prenatal fatty acid availability, and in plasma phospholipids sampled at 7 y. DESIGN: As part of a follow-up study, the cognitive performance of 306 children, born at term, was assessed at 7 y of age with the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children. Backward stepwise regression analysis was used to study the relationship between the outcomes and LCPUFA status. Social class, maternal intelligence and parenting skills were included as covariables, among others. RESULTS: Results show no significant association with either DHA or AA at birth and the cognitive performance at 7 y of age. The LCPUFA levels at 7 y were not associated with these outcomes either. Consistent with the literature, significant relationships were found between cognitive outcome measures and maternal education, maternal intelligence and the child's birthweight. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, our results do not provide evidence for a positive association between cognitive performance at 7 y and LCPUFA status at birth or at 7 y of age
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

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