Relationships between Early Neonatal Nutrition and Neurodevelopment at School Age in Children Born Very Preterm

Anna C Tottman, Jane M. Alsweiler, Frank H Bloomfield, Gregory D. Gamble, Yannan Jiang, Myra Leung, Tanya Poppe, Benjamin Thompson, Trecia A. Wouldes, Jane E. Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives:The aim of this study was to determine whether a new nutrition protocol designed to increase early protein intakes while reducing fluid volume in infants born very preterm was associated with altered neurodevelopment and growth in childhood.Methods:A retrospective, observational cohort study of children born <30 weeks' gestation or <1500 g and admitted to the neonatal unit, National Women's Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand, before and after a change in nutrition protocol. The primary outcome was neurodevelopmental impairment at 7 years (any of Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children full scale IQ < 85, Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 total score ≤5th centile, cerebral palsy, blind, or deaf requiring aids). Outcomes were compared between groups and for the overall cohort using generalized linear regression, adjusted for sex and birth weight z score.Results:Of 201 eligible children, 128 (64%) were assessed (55/89 [62%] exposed to the old nutrition protocol, 73 of 112 [65%] to the new protocol). Children who experienced the new protocol received more protein, less energy, and less carbohydrate in postnatal days 1 to 7. Neurodevelopmental impairment was similar at 7 years (30/73 [41%] vs 25/55 [45%], adjusted odds ratio [AOR] [95% confidence interval] 0.78 [0.35-1.70], P = 0.55), as was the incidence of cerebral palsy (AOR 7.36 [0.88-61.40], P = 0.07). Growth and body composition were also similar between groups. An extra 1 g/kg parenteral protein intake in postnatal days 1 to 7 was associated with a 27% increased odds of cerebral palsy (AOR 1.27 [1.03-1.57], P = 0.006).Conclusions:Higher early protein intakes do not change overall rates of neurodevelopmental impairment or growth at 7 years. Further research is needed to determine the effects of higher early parenteral protein intake on motor development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-78
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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