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DHA and AA improve mental development in infants

A randomized, double-blind study compared infant formula supplemented with 0.36% docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 0.72% arachidonic acid (AA) with unsupplemented formula in 56 infants, from five days after birth until four months of age. The supplemented formula was designed to closely match essential fatty acid levels found in breast milk. Researchers reported a significant increase in cognitive function at 18 months in the supplemented group compared to the control group, as measured by the Mental Development Index of the Bayley Scales. The study was published in the March issue of Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. Although emerging science suggests that DHA and AA are essential for normal infant development, they are currently not allowed in American formulas. On March 1, Martek Biosciences challenged the FDA's position by submitting a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) notice for its DHA and AA oils, trade named DHASCO and ARASCO. Both oils are commonly used in infant formulas in Europe and Asia.

BW Health Wire, March 7, 2000 and The Tan Sheet, March 13, 2000.

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