Preterm birth research in top 10 for delivering extraordinary outcomes

The impact of life-changing research into preventing preterm births by University of Adelaide experts has been recognised by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Students at the University of Adelaide's North Terrace campus

香港六合彩特码最准网鈥檚 Professor Robert Gibson and SAHMRI鈥檚 Professor Maria Makrides鈥 project, Foods of Future Australians, features in the NHMRC鈥檚 10 of the Best 鈥 Fifteenth Edition publication.

The project focused on redefining the nutritional requirements and dietary energy balance for pregnant women to prevent preterm birth. It secured funding for an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) and NHMRC Fellowships.

Large-scale clinical trials from 2013鈥2019 led to the discovery that low intakes or blood status of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) are associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, and low-cost supplements reduce this risk.

The researchers also found very premature babies who are given omega-3 fatty acids will experience better cognitive function.

Prior to this, the role of nutrition in preventing preterm birth, and in brain development after birth, wasn鈥檛 clearly established.

As a result of this research, the Pregnancy Care Guidelines of the Australian Government have been updated and manufacturers of nutritional products for preterm babies are improving their products.

Preterm birth occurs in approximately 1 in 10 infants globally. It causes about three quarters of near-birth deaths and more than half of newborn deaths.

The researchers are now aiming to measure the omega-3 status of every pregnant woman in the state over the next two years.

Their goal is to show that assessing omega-3 fatty acids plus supplementing, if needed, will reduce the rate of preterm birth by 10鈥15 per cent.

The NHMRC鈥檚 10 of the Best 鈥 Fifteenth Edition showcases innovative projects and outcomes that have been translated into the health system.

Tagged in featured story, pregnancy research, NHMRC