Neurodevelopmental quotient of healthy term infants at 4 months and feeding practice: the role of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids

Pediatr Res. 1995 Aug;38(2):262-6. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199508000-00021.


A direct influence of dietary long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) on the developmental quotient (DQ) of the healthy term infant remains unexplored. To test this hypothesis, we designed a prospective study of three types of diet. Twenty-nine infants received a LC-PUFA-supplemented formula, 31 received a standard infant formula, and 30 infants were breast-fed exclusively. Neurodevelopmental response was measured by the Brunet-Lézine psychomotor development test at 4 mo. The fatty acid status was also assessed among three diet subgroups (59 subjects) at 4 mo. Formula-fed infants who received LC-PUFA supplementation scored significantly higher (p < 0.01) on the Brunet-Lézine scale than infants who received the standard formula. Breast-fed infants also performed better than those fed the standard formula. Arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid levels in circulating lipids and erythrocyte phospholipids were higher among breast-fed infants and among the group fed the arachidonic- and docosahexaenoic acid-supplemented formula. These findings are suggestive that formula supplementation with one or both of these fatty acids can benefit term infants in neurodevelopmental performance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Diet*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food
  • Male
  • Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Reference Values
  • Social Behavior*


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated