ABSTRACTS: Oral Presentation Abstracts
Introduction: The requirement of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is increased during pregnancy. DHA plays an important role in the visual development of infants and it is not proven if various European diets meet the DHA requirements. Supplementation of pregnant women with folic acid might enhance the placental transfer of DHA.
Methods: Women recruited in Spain (S) and Germany (G) were randomized to nutritional code A (0,5 g DHA and 0,4 mg methyl-tetrahydrofolate (MTHF)/d), B (0,5 g DHA/d), C (0,4 mg MTHF/d) or D (placebo) from week 20 of gestation until child birth. Infants not fully breastfed were supplied with formulas with or without supplementary DHA according to the nutritional code assigned. Cortical visual evoked potentials (VEPc) were obtained at 8 weeks. Subjects were exposed to an alternating black-and-white checkerboard pattern and P1 latencies and N1-P1 amplitudes at different pattern sizes were measured. The Student t-test (paired test) was performed (p<0.05) using SPSS version 11.5.
Results: 249 pregnant women (152 S, 97 G) were recruited and in 168 children (102 S, 35 G) VEPc were obtained. P1 latencies measured at diminishing visual angles were 151.7 ms + 27.8 ms at 2° (S), 162.8 ms + 28.2 ms at 1° (S+G), 172.2 ms + 31.3 ms at 30’ (S), 178.7 ms + 30.6 ms at 20’ (G), 184.6 ms + 29.7 ms at 15’ (S), and 204.5 ms + 49.2 ms at 7.5’ (S). The corresponding amplitudes were 25.0 μV + 11.8 μV at 2° (S), 28 μV + 12.3 μV at 1° (S+G), 23.8 μV + 12.0 μV at 30’ (S), 20.2 μV + 8.7μV at 20’ (G), 16.7μV + 10.2 μV at 15’ (S) and 10.0 μV + 7.2 μV at 7.5’ (S). Statistically significant differences could only be found between nutritional code 3 (158.9 ms + 24.8 ms) and 4 (168.5 ms + 34.0 ms) (S+G) concerning p1 latencies at 1°.
Conclusion: There were no statistically significant differences between amplitudes and latencies for the nutritional codes for S and G separately in infants 8 weeks old. Statistically significant differences between two codes was only found for p1 at 1° for S and G together, but it has to be discussed if these are clinically significant. The results are relevant for providing dietary advice in pregnancy as well as for the development of formula meeting physiological needs and as prenatal development influences health in later life, new findings have the potential to improve health on a population-wide basis.