Importance of Adequate DHA/ARA in Preterm Infants

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Dr. Michael Caplan and Dr. Camilia Martin discuss the important functions of adequate docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) balance in the preterm infant, with a focus on the role of DHA/ARA in neurodevelopment, growth, and retinal development. During the first postnatal week, in preterm infants, DHA levels rapidly decline, and ARA levels are also altered. Faculty will highlight the challenges of achieving adequate DHA/ARA intake in preterm infants, the benefits of DHA/ARA supplementation, as well as the current NICU practices of DHA/ARA supplementation, and how those practices might evolve in the future.

This course does not offer CE credit.

  • Michael Caplan, MD

    Chairman, Department of Pediatrics
    Chief Scientific Officer, NorthShore University HealthSystem
    Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
    Chicago, Illinois

  • Camilia R. Martin, MD, MS

    Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
    Associate Director, NICU, Department of Neonatology
    Director for Cross-Disciplinary Research Partnerships
    Division of Translational Research
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
    Boston, Massachusetts

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the role DHA/ARA plays in developing infants
  • Recognize the importance of adequate DHA/ARA balance in preterm infants
  • Associate current NICU practices with DHA/ARA accretion rates in preterm infants