European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 52, Issue 8, pp 1825–1842

Nutrition and neurodevelopment in children: focus on NUTRIMENTHE project

  • Tania Anjos
  • Signe Altmäe
  • Pauline Emmett
  • Henning Tiemeier
  • Ricardo Closa-Monasterolo
  • Verónica Luque
  • Sheila Wiseman
  • Miguel Pérez-García
  • Eva Lattka
  • Hans Demmelmair
  • Bernadette Egan
  • Niels Straub
  • Hania Szajewska
  • Jayne Evans
  • Claire Horton
  • Tomas Paus
  • Elizabeth Isaacs
  • Jan Willem van Klinken
  • Berthold Koletzko
  • Cristina Campoy
  • The NUTRIMENTHE Research Group
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00394-013-0560-4

Cite this article as:
Anjos, T., Altmäe, S., Emmett, P. et al. Eur J Nutr (2013) 52: 1825. doi:10.1007/s00394-013-0560-4

Abstract

There is growing evidence that early nutrition affects later cognitive performance. The idea that the diet of mothers, infants, and children could affect later mental performance has major implications for public health practice and policy development and for our understanding of human biology as well as for food product development, economic progress, and future wealth creation. To date, however, much of the evidence is from animal, retrospective studies and short-term nutritional intervention studies in humans. The positive effect of micronutrients on health, especially of pregnant women eating well to maximise their child’s cognitive and behavioural outcomes, is commonly acknowledged. The current evidence of an association between gestational nutrition and brain development in healthy children is more credible for folate, n-3 fatty acids, and iron. Recent findings highlight the fact that single-nutrient supplementation is less adequate than supplementation with more complex formulae. However, the optimal content of micronutrient supplementation and whether there is a long-term impact on child’s neurodevelopment needs to be investigated further. Moreover, it is also evident that future studies should take into account genetic heterogeneity when evaluating nutritional effects and also nutritional recommendations. The objective of the present review is to provide a background and update on the current knowledge linking nutrition to cognition and behaviour in children, and to show how the large collaborative European Project NUTRIMENTHE is working towards this aim.

Keywords

Nutrition Children Mental performance Cognition Brain assessment Genetics 

Abbreviations

AA

Arachidonic acid

ADHD

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

ALA

Alpha-linolenic acid

aMRI

Anatomical magnetic resonance imaging

COMT

Catechol-O-methyltransferase

DHA

Docosahexaenoic acid

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid

EEG

Electroencephalogram

ELOVL

Fatty acid elongase 5

ERG

Electroretinogram

ERPs

Event-related potentials

FADS

Fatty acid desaturase

FFQ

Food frequency questionnaire

fMRI

Functional magnetic resonance imaging

GWA

Genome-wide association studies

HOTV

Single letters that are presented to the child using the Electronic Visual Acuity System

IQ

Intelligence quotient

LA

Linoleic acid

LC-PUFA

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging

mRNA

Messenger ribonucleic acid

MTHFR

Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase

NUTRIMENTHE

The Effect of Diet on the Mental Performance of Children

PET

Positron emission tomography

PUFA

Polyunsaturated fatty acid

RNA

Ribonucleic acid

T3

Triiodothyronine

T4

Thyroxine

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tania Anjos
    • 1
  • Signe Altmäe
    • 1
  • Pauline Emmett
    • 2
  • Henning Tiemeier
    • 3
  • Ricardo Closa-Monasterolo
    • 4
  • Verónica Luque
    • 4
  • Sheila Wiseman
    • 5
  • Miguel Pérez-García
    • 6
  • Eva Lattka
    • 7
  • Hans Demmelmair
    • 8
  • Bernadette Egan
    • 9
  • Niels Straub
    • 10
  • Hania Szajewska
    • 11
  • Jayne Evans
    • 12
  • Claire Horton
    • 12
  • Tomas Paus
    • 13
  • Elizabeth Isaacs
    • 14
  • Jan Willem van Klinken
    • 5
    • 15
  • Berthold Koletzko
    • 8
  • Cristina Campoy
    • 1
  • The NUTRIMENTHE Research Group
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, School of MedicineUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.School of Social and Community MedicineUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  3. 3.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryErasmus University Medical CenterRotterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Paediatrics Research UnitUniversitat Rovira i Virgili, IISPVReusSpain
  5. 5.UNILEVER Research and DevelopmentVlaardingenThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Department of Clinical PsychologyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  7. 7.Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum MünchenGerman Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH)NeuherbergGermany
  8. 8.Hauner Children’s HospitalUniversity of Munich Medical CentreMunichGermany
  9. 9.Food, Consumers Behavior and Health Research Centre, School of Human SciencesUniversity of SurreySurreyUK
  10. 10.Institute for Market Research, Strategy and PlanningMunichGermany
  11. 11.2nd Department of PediatricsMedical University of WarsawWarsawPoland
  12. 12.BetaTechnology LtdDoncasterUK
  13. 13.The Rotman Research InstituteUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  14. 14.Childhood Nutrition Research CentreUCL Institute of Child HealthLondonUK
  15. 15.PepsiCo R&DNew BornUSA

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