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Nutrition and brain development in moderate and late preterm babies

48 months
Approved budget:
Professor Jane Harding
Health issue:
Obstetric complications/perinatal care
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Babies born moderate and late preterm (MLP, 32 -36 weeks’ gestation) comprise 80% of all preterm births, and have increased risk of later developmental and learning difficulties. Early nutrition influences brain growth in extremely preterm babies, but little is known about the relationship between early feeding, brain growth and later development in MLP babies, who account for ten times the neurodevelopmental burden of extremely preterm babies. The DIAMOND Trial is a factorial randomised trial of three early feeding strategies in MLP babies. We propose undertaking serial MRI brain scans of babies in the DIAMOND Trial, to determine the specific effects of early feeding strategies on how different parts of the brain grow and mature. Building upon the gold standard study design of a randomised trial, we will provide the first reliable evidence about how best to feed MLP babies to optimise brain growth and development and, therefore, their long-term outcome.