Background Given the rapid brain growth that occurs during the third trimester, optimal nutrition offers a potential way to improve neurodevelopmental outcome in preterm infants. This pilot study aimed to explore the relationship between nutrient intake and neurodevelopmental outcome at 24 months corrected gestational age (CGA).
Methods Detailed data on nutrient intake during hospital stay was collected using an electronic tool and paired with data from neurodevelopmental assessment using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler-III carried out at 24 months CGA. Correlation and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted.
Results Fifteen infants were included with mean (SD) gestational age and weight at birth of 26.6 (1.18) weeks and 867 (163 g) respectively. Mean protein and energy intakes in the first week after birth were regressed against Bayley III cognitive scores, with adjustment for sex and birth weight. Table 1 demonstrates the results for the individual factors with cognitive composite scores, and an overall model (r 2 = 0.449), which indicates that increased protein intake was associated with better outcome, whilst energy intake had a small negative effect.
Conclusion This study suggests that early protein intake is important for cognitive development, and that increasing energy intake in the face of static protein intake should be avoided in the first week of life.
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