PhD student: Soodabeh Behboodi

Title: Growth in early childhood after very preterm birth in Europe

Supervisors: Jennifer Zeitlin, Adrien Aubert

Doctoral school: Paris-Cité

Promotion: 2023

Funding: Doctoral contract

Thesis abstract:

Development in perinatal and neonatal medicine has led to an increase in the survival of infants born very preterm (<32 weeks of gestation, constituting about 1-2% of all births). It is important to investigate the long-term health outcomes of these children as they are more likely to have poor neurodevelopment and health problems in later life.

Optimizing early life nutrition may be one way to improve outcomes after very preterm birth. Preterm-born children face higher risks of sub-optimal growth. Suboptimal weight and growth in preterm infants have been linked with impaired neurodevelopmental outcomes, especially cognitive difficulties in early childhood. Studies suggest that improving growth during the postnatal period with adequate postnatal nutrition may be an effective strategy for promoting better cognitive outcomes in children born preterm. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that nutritional supplements that provide rapid catch-up growth may increase the risk of future obesity and lead to metabolic disease later in life

Considering the rise in the number of preterm-born survivors, a detailed investigation of their growth in early childhood can inform risk prediction and prevention and provide essential context for understanding later growth and risks for metabolic disease.


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