[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Little is known about the critical period during which the dietary supply of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) may influence the maturation of visual cortical function in term infants.
To define the relationship between duration of dietary LCPUFA supply and visual acuity at 52 weeks of age.
Data from 243 infants who participated in four randomized clinical trials of LCPUFA supplementation of infant formula at a single research center were combined. The primary outcome was visual acuity at 52 weeks of age as measured by swept visual evoked potentials (sweep VEP).
Longer duration of LCPUFA supply was associated with better mean acuity at 52 weeks of age (r=-0.878; p<0.001). The relationship between duration of dietary LCPUFA supply and sweep VEP acuity at 52 weeks was similar whether the LCPUFAs were provided via formula containing 0.36% DHA and 0.72% ARA or human milk. Duration of breast-feeding was associated with individual infants' sweep VEP acuity outcomes at 52 weeks (r=-0.286; p<0.005). The duration of LCPUFA supply during infancy has a similar relationship to sweep VEP acuity at 52 weeks in breastfed infants regardless of birth order.
A continued benefit from a supply of LCPUFAs is apparent in infants through 52 weeks of age, suggesting that the brain may not have sufficient stores of LCPUFAs from an early postnatal supply to support the optimal maturation of the visual cortex.
Early Human Development 03/2005; 81(2):197-203. · 2.02 Impact Factor