The N3RO Trial

Follow up of the N3RO Trial: Efficacy and safety of omega-3 DHA supplementation in preterm infants
The N3RO Trial
Project Status: In progress
Project administered by: The University of Adelaide

Giving babies who are born 3-to-4 months prematurely omega-3 DHA has been thought to improve their brain development but we don’t yet know if this is true.

In this follow-up study, the team investigates the important longer-term effects, at five years of age, of extra DHA in the first months of life by assessing the children’s behavioural development.

The neurodevelopmental deficits common in preterm children may be partly explained by omega-3 DHA deficiency resulting from missed fetal accretion in the last trimester of pregnancy. Despite decades of work, it remains unknown whether meeting the estimated DHA intake during the neonatal period improves, causes harm or is of no benefit for neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants born preterm.

Child writing

Researchers are following-up, at 5 years corrected age, with a subset of children who participated in the N3RO randomised controlled trial.

The primary outcome is behavioural functioning at school age as assessed with the Total Difficulties Score of the parent-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.

Allowing for 15% loss to follow-up (n=812) of the N3RO trial infants available for follow-up (n=955 were enrolled within Australia and have not died or withdrawn) will provide 90% power to detect a mean difference of 1.55 points in group scores on the SDQ.

The N3RO children might be the only children in which longer-term behavioural outcomes of early enteral DHA supplementation can be established.

This project is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council