Maternal body composition may have a significant impact on the child’s neurodevelopment
The importance of maternal health during pregnancy is well-established, and a recent study highlights its impact on a child’s neurodevelopment. The study found that maternal body composition may have a significant impact on the child's neurodevelopment, with positive outcomes for 2-year–old children born to mothers with no gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and/or obesity. The study also explored the negative association between maternal body fat composition and neurodevelopment in children. Further, it also reveals a link between maternal diet quality, nutrient intake during pregnancy, and children’s language skills. The study lays a special emphasis on modulating maternal body composition and diet during pregnancy to improve children's neurodevelopment.
The Microbe-gut–brain Connection: Study Highlights the Importance of Gut Microbiota in Neurodevelopment
A recent study explored the relationship between early-life gut microbiota and neurodevelopment in mice. This study suggests that exposure to antibiotics during early life can change the gut microbiota, leading to a subtle but long-lasting impact on the gut–brain–immune axis. Antibiotic-induced gut microbial depletion has a sex- and time-dependent effect on circulating immune cells. Furthermore, even brief exposure to antibiotics in early life can have a significant effect on the composition and structure of the developing gut microbiota, reducing its diversity and changing the abundance of certain microorganisms, potentially impacting behaviour, neuroimmune function, and neurodevelopment. To promote positive neurodevelopmental and behavioural outcomes in later life, it is essential to maintain gut microbial diversity and stability during the critical window of early life. These findings highlight the importance of careful consideration when administering antibiotics and lay the groundwork for developing strategies to support a healthy gut microbiome in early life.
Growth Concerns in Young Children
Normal growth is one of the best indicators of a child’s overall health and wellbeing. “Growth faltering” refers to a pattern of slower weight gain than is expected for a child’s age and gender, or a failure to grow at a normal rate that is comparable to the child’s peers. The most common cause of poor growth is inadequate intake of energy, protein, and micronutrients, which can result from disease- or non-disease-related factors. Energy and protein are critical for catch-up growth, which must take a child’s baseline requirements into account, as well as the additional calories and protein they need for new tissue synthesis. Initiating nutritional assessment and treatment early in young children with growth concerns is critical to preventing adverse consequences.
Impact of Bioactive Nutrition in Neurodevelopment - Dr. Jonas Hauser
Dr. Jonas Hauser
Nutrition is one of the modulators in brain development. Breastmilk functions to provide hydration, nurture and bioactive components to newborns. Early life dietary intake of HMOs from breastmilk supports cognitive functions and modulates microbiota. Recent studies have showed the association of 2’-FL with cognitive development and sialylated HMOs association with cognition and language in infants.
Myelination & Sociability in Children - Dr. Purva Rajhans
Learning is a dynamic process, that begins in early childhood. It occurs in 3 domains of development (sensory & motor, social & emotional and cognitive and language). It forms a critical foundation for acquisition of later life skills. Environment, genetics, microbiome and learning influence myelination whereby nutrition is one such modifiable factor that readily influences myelination. There are also specific regions of the brain which are involved in orchestrating sociability. Recent studies have demonstrated that these regions show a steep increase in myelination during toddlerhood. Nutrition may influence sociability as well as underlying brain development, such as myelination in the social brain.
The Learning Lead - Volume 1, 2020 - Fast and Efficient Connections in the Brain
Billions of neurons and connections in the developing brain drive how we think, feel, and act, enabling us to function and learn. These connections not only have to be fast but also efficient. An efficient brain uses its energy effectively to complete complex tasks via the relevant pathways, enabling the fastest flow of information throughout the entire brain. Fast and efficient brains learn better.1,2
Levels of cholesterol, gangliosides and iron in breast milk are associated with early brain myelination in 3-month-old infants – preliminary findings - Dr. Nora Schneider
Dr. Nora Schneider
Myelination, the wrapping of neuronal axons with a lipid-rich sheath, is critical for information processing and normal brain functioning. Starting within the caudal brain stem before birth, myelination progresses rostrally after birth to the forebrain, with the most rapid period of human brain myelination occurring within the first 2 years of postnatal life. This pattern of myelination corresponds to emerging cognitive functions with sensory and motor functions being amongst the first to mature. While previous studies indicate early life nutrition as a relevant influencing factor for myelination, little is known about the contribution of breast milk nutrients to myelin development in human infants.