New Research on Essential Metabolites in Breastfed vs. Formula-Fed Micro-Preemies

This ScienceDaily news release discusses new research in micro-preemies using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a non-invasive imaging technique that describes the chemical composition of specific brain structures and enables measurement of metabolites essential for growth. The multi-disciplinary team is comprised of lead author and neonatologist Katherine M. Ottolini, M.D.; Nickie Andescavage, M.D., Attending, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and co-author; Kushal Kapse, research and development staff engineer and co-author; Sudeepta Basu, M.D., neonatologist and co-author; and Catherine Limperopoulos, Ph.D., director of MRI Research of the Developing Brain and senior author, all of Children's National in Washington, D.C.

From the news release:

"Each chemical has its own a unique spectral fingerprint . . . . The team generated light signatures for key metabolites and calculated the quantity of each metabolite. Of note:

"Cerebral white matter spectra showed significantly greater levels of inositol (a molecule similar to glucose) for babies fed breast milk, compared with babies fed formula.

"Cerebellar spectra had significantly greater creatine levels for breastfed babies compared with infants fed formula. And the percentage of days infants were fed breast milk was associated with significantly greater levels of both creatine and choline, a water soluble nutrient."