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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Supplementation with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) to breastfeeding mothers for improving child growth and development

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (81st percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

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1 policy source
9 X users
3 Facebook pages


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Supplementation with long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) to breastfeeding mothers for improving child growth and development
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd007901.pub3
Pubmed ID

Mario F Delgado‐Noguera, Jose Andres Calvache, Xavier Bonfill Cosp, Eleni P Kotanidou, Assimina Galli‐Tsinopoulou


Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are the most abundant fatty acids in the brain and are necessary for growth and maturation of an infant's brain and retina. LCPUFAs are named "essential" because they cannot be synthesised efficiently by the human body and come from maternal diet. It remains controversial whether LCPUFA supplementation to breastfeeding mothers is beneficial for the development of their infants. To assess the effectiveness and safety of supplementation with LCPUFA in breastfeeding mothers in the cognitive and physical development of their infants as well as safety for the mother and infant. We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (6 August 2014), CENTRAL (Cochrane Library 2014, Issue 8), PubMed (1966 to August 2014), EMBASE (1974 to August 2014), LILACS (1982 to August 2014), Google Scholar (August 2014) and reference lists of published narrative and systematic reviews. Randomised controlled trials or cluster-randomised controlled trials evaluating the effects of LCPUFA supplementation on breastfeeding mothers (including the pregnancy period) and their infants. Two review authors independently assessed eligibility and trial quality, performed data extraction and evaluated data accuracy. We included eight randomised controlled trials involving 1567 women. All the studies were performed in high-income countries. The longest follow-up was seven years.We report the results from the longest follow-up time point from included studies. Overall, there was moderate quality evidence as assessed using the GRADE approach from these studies for the following outcomes measured beyond 24 months age of children: language development and child weight. There was low-quality evidence for the outcomes: Intelligence or solving problems ability, psychomotor development, child attention, and child visual acuity.We found no significant difference in children's neurodevelopment at long-term follow-up beyond 24 months: language development (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.56 to 0.02; two trials, 187 participants); intelligence or problem-solving ability (three trials, 238 participants; SMD 0.00, 95% CI -0.36 to 0.36); psychomotor development (SMD -0.11, 95% CI -0.48 to 0.26; one trial, 113 participants); motor development (SMD -0.23, 95% CI -0.60 to 0.14; one trial, 115 participants), or in general movements (risk ratio, RR, 1.12, 95% CI 0.58 to 2.14; one trial, 77 participants; at 12 weeks of life). However, child attention scores were better at five years of age in the group of children whose mothers had received supplementation with fatty acids (mean difference (MD) 4.70, 95% CI 1.30 to 8.10; one study, 110 participants)). In working memory and inhibitory control, we found no significant difference (MD -0.02 95% CI -0.07 to 0.03 one trial, 63 participants); the neurological optimality score did not present any difference (P value: 0.55).For child visual acuity, there was no significant difference (SMD 0.33, 95% CI -0.04 to 0.71; one trial, 111 participants).For growth, there were no significant differences in length (MD -0.39 cm, 95% CI -1.37 to 0.60; four trials, 441 participants), weight (MD 0.13 kg, 95% CI -0.49 to 0.74; four trials, 441 participants), and head circumference (MD 0.15 cm, 95% CI -0.27 to 0.58; three trials, 298 participants). Child fat mass and fat mass distribution did not differ between the intervention and control group (MD 2.10, 95% CI -0.48 to 4.68; one trial, 115 participants, MD -0.50, 95% CI -1.69 to 0.69; one trial, 165 participants, respectively).One study (117 infants) reported a significant difference in infant allergy at short-term follow-up (risk ratio (RR) 0.13, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.95), but not at medium-term follow-up (RR 0.52, 95% CI 0.17 to 1.59).We found no significant difference in two trials evaluating postpartum depression. Data were not possible to be pooled due to differences in the describing of the outcome. One study (89 women) did not find any significant difference between the LCPUFA supplementation and the control group at four weeks postpartum (MD 1.00, 95%CI -1.72 to 3.72).No adverse effects were reported. Based on the available evidence, LCPUFA supplementation did not appear to improve children's neurodevelopment, visual acuity or growth. In child attention at five years of age, weak evidence was found (one study) favouring the supplementation. Currently, there is inconclusive evidence to support or refute the practice of giving LCPUFA supplementation to breastfeeding mothers in order to improve neurodevelopment or visual acuity.

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X Demographics

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 487 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
France 1 <1%
Italy 1 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
Unknown 482 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 79 16%
Student > Ph. D. Student 53 11%
Student > Bachelor 51 10%
Researcher 49 10%
Student > Postgraduate 26 5%
Other 87 18%
Unknown 142 29%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 115 24%
Nursing and Health Professions 68 14%
Psychology 46 9%
Social Sciences 27 6%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 14 3%
Other 60 12%
Unknown 157 32%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 9. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 September 2021.
All research outputs
of 25,457,297 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,499 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 276,578 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 263 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,457,297 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 83rd percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,499 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 40.0. This one is in the 43rd percentile – i.e., 43% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 276,578 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 81% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 263 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 44th percentile – i.e., 44% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.