Effect of Omega-3 and -6 Supplementation on Language in Preterm Toddlers Exhibiting Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms
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Delayed language development may be an early indicator of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Early intervention is critical for children with ASD, and the present study presents pilot data on a clinical trial of omega-3 and -6 fatty acid supplementation and language development, a secondary trial outcome, in children at risk for ASD. We randomized 31 children to receive an omega-3 and -6 supplement or a placebo for 3 months, and measured their language abilities at baseline and after supplementation. Gesture use, but not word production, increased for children in the treatment group more than children in the placebo group. These results suggest possible effectiveness of omega-3 and -6 supplementation for language development in children at risk for ASD.
KeywordsChildren born preterm Autism spectrum disorder Language development MacArthur Bates communicative development inventory Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-6 fatty acids
We would like to thank the families who participated in the study and Yvette Bean, Kendra Heck, Chenali Jayadeva, Julia Less, and Kamma Smith of Nationwide Children’s Hospital for data collection and administrative support.
This study was funded by The Marci and Bill Ingram Fund for Autism Spectrum Disorders Research (no grant number), Cures Within Reach (no grant number), the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences/NIH (UL1TR001070), and internal support from the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences or the National Institutes of Health. Nordic Naturals provided the investigational product, and Welsh, Holme, & Clark Co., Inc. provided canola oil at no cost. Neither the study sponsors nor product providers had a role in the study design.
KWS ran the statistical analyses, interpreted the results, and drafted and revised the manuscript; KMB participated in study design, oversaw data collection, participated in analyses, and revised the manuscript; JR participated in study conception and design, oversaw statistical analyses, and revised the manuscript; SAK, BG, MAK, LKR, CB, and DLC conceived of and designed the study, had overall oversight of the project, participated in statistical analyses and interpretation of data, and revised the manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with institutional ethical standards and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.
Written informed consent (parental permission for the children) was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.
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