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Abstract #2256

Breastmilk exposure is associated with improved MRI biomarkers of myelination in preterm infants

Gemma Sullivan1, Manuel Cabez1, Kadi Vaher1, Paola Galdi1, Gill Black1, David Q Stoye1, Alan J Quigley2, Elizabeth N York3, Michael J Thrippleton3, Mark E Bastin3, and James P Boardman1,3
1MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 2Department of Paediatric Radiology, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 3Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Preterm birth is closely associated with altered white matter microstructure and dysconnectivity of developing neural networks with increased risk of long-term neurodevelopmental impairment. Nutritional exposures in the weeks after preterm birth affect head growth, brain macro- and micro- structure, and are associated with neurocognitive ability; the mechanisms underlying these associations are uncertain. By combining nutritional data with myelin-weighted imaging, we show that early breast milk exposure after preterm birth is associated with improved white matter myelination at term-equivalent age.

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