Optimising nutrition to improve growth and reduce neurodisabilities in neonates at risk of neurological impairment, and children with suspected or confirmed cerebral palsy
© Andrew et al. Background: Neurological impairment is a common sequelae of perinatal brain injury. Plasticity of the developing brain is due to a rich substrate of developing neurones, synaptic elements and extracellular matrix. Interventions supporting this inherent capacity for plasticity may improve the developmental outcome of infants following brain injury. Nutritional supplementation with combination docosahexaenoic acid, uridine and choline has been shown to increase synaptic elements, dendritic density and neurotransmitter release in rodents, improving performance on cognitive tests. It remains elusive whether such specific 'neurotrophic' supplementation enhances brain plasticity and repair after perinatal brain injury. Methods/Design: This is a two year double-blind, randomised placebo controlled study with two cohorts to investigate whether nutritional intervention with a neurotrophic dietary supplement improves growth and neurodevelopmental outcomes in neonates at significant risk of neurological impairment (the D1 cohort), and infants with suspected or confirmed cerebral palsy (the D2 cohort). Discussion: This is the first study to supplement neonates and infants with perinatal brain injury with the combination of factors required for healthy brain development, throughout the period of maximal brain growth. A further study strength is the comprehensive range of outcome measures employed. If beneficial, supplementation with brain phosphatide precursors could improve the quality of life of thousands of children with perinatal brain injury.