The Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Center for Neurodevelopment, Growth and Nutrition of the Newborn (LRF CNGNN) was jointly established by the University of Zurich (UZH) and the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF) to investigate structural brain and functional neurologic development from early infancy up to young adulthood, and the factors that influence these processes in low- and high-risk infants.

The LRF CNGNN will explore the impact of children’s early nutrition – for example, breastmilk and breastfeeding quality, exclusivity and duration – on structural changes in brain morphology and functional outcomes ranging from neurophysiologic adaptation at the neonatal age to psychological adaptation and quality of life at young adulthood.

Neurodevelopment is an important element to the overall understanding of how breastfeeding impacts child health, yet it has remained under-explored until now.

“The two major aims of the LRF CNGNN are to comprehensively investigate the impact of human milk constituents on neurodevelopment, taking into account the impact of other non-biological environmental experiences and genetic heterogeneity; and to establish a centre of excellence in Nutrition, Growth and Neurodevelopment in Neonatology, assembling an interdisciplinary large-based group of interest that will be able to ensure growth and launch further international collaborative networks.” – Giancarlo Natalucci, Prof. Dr. med., Attending Neonatologist, Department of Neonatology, University Hospital Zurich and Director, Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Center for Neurodevelopment, Growth and Nutrition of the Newborn, University of Zurich

In addition to this clinical research on the association between early nutrition and functional short- and long-term outcomes, the LRF CNGNN will conduct basic research into the characterisation and biochemical behaviour of nutrients and bioactive, compounds of breastmilk that may protect cells and stabilise physiological functions. These inquiries can complement research at the Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Center for Economics of Breastfeeding (LRF CEB), recently established at UZH to gain a holistic understanding of the sociocultural and economic aspects and long-term effects of breastfeeding.

FLRF donated CHF 20 million to endow the LRF CNGNN. Endowments facilitate financial independence in perpetuity, and thus enable academic organisations to accommodate panoramic research with long horizons.

Further reading

Marlow N, Doyle LW, Anderson P, Johnson S, Bhatt-Mehta V, Natalucci G, Darlow BA, Davis JM, Turner MA; International Neonatal Consortium (INC). Assessment of long-term neurodevelopmental outcome following trials of medicinal products in newborn infants. (2019) Pediatr Res. Nov;86(5):567-572. DOI: 10.1038/s41390-019-0526-1. Epub 2019 Aug 9. Review.

Adams M, Berger TM, Borradori-Tolsa C, Bickle-Graz M, Grunt S, Gerull R, Bassler D, Natalucci G; Swiss Neonatal Network & Follow-Up Group. Association between perinatal interventional activity and 2-year outcome of Swiss extremely preterm born infants: a population-based cohort study. BMJ Open. 2019;9(3):e024560. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024560.

Malavolti AM, Bassler D, Arlettaz-Mieth R, Faldella G, Latal B, Natalucci G1. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia-impact of severity and timing of diagnosis of on neurodevelopment of preterm infants: a retrospective study. BMJ Paediatr Open. 2018 Jan 9;2(1):e000165. DOI: 10.1136/bmjpo-2017-000165. eCollection 2018.

Natalucci G, Bucher HU, Von Rhein M, Borradori Tolsa C, Latal B, Adams M. Population based report on health related quality of life in adolescents born very preterm. Early Hum Dev. 2017 Jan;104:7-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2016.11.002. Epub 2016 Dec 6.

Natalucci G, Latal B, Koller B, Rüegger C, Sick B, Held L et al. Effect of Early Prophylactic High-Dose Recombinant Human Erythropoietin in Very Preterm Infants on Neurodevelopmental Outcome at 2 Years: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2016 May 17;315(19):2079-85. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.5504.

Brütsch S, Burkhardt T, Kurmanavicius J, Bassler D, Zimmermann R, Natalucci G et al. Neurodevelopmental outcome in very low birthweight infants with pathological umbilical artery flow. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2016 May;101(3):F212-6. DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2014-307820. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

Natalucci G, Leuchter RH, Bucher HU, Latal B, Koller B, Hüppi PS et al. Functional brain maturation assessed during early life correlates with anatomical brain maturation at term-equivalent age in preterm infants. Pediatr Res. 2013 Jul;74(1):68-74. DOI: 10.1038/pr.2013.57. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

Natalucci G, Schneider M, Werner H, Caflisch JA, Bucher HU, Jenni OG et al. Development of neuromotor functions in very low birth weight children from six to 10 years of age: patterns of change. Acta Paediatr. 2013 Aug;102(8):809-14. DOI: 10.1111/apa.12271. Epub 2013 May 8.

Natalucci G, Iten M, Hofmann J, Bucher HU, Arlettaz R, Molinari L et al. Health-related quality of life and behavior of triplets at adolescent age. J Pediatr. 2012 Sep;161(3):495-500.e1. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.03.001. Epub 2012 Apr 14.

Schlapbach LJ, Adams M, Proietti E, Aebischer M, Grunt S, Borradori-Tolsa C et al.
Outcome at two years of age in a Swiss national cohort of extremely preterm infants born between 2000 and 2008. BMC Pediatr. 2012 Dec 28;12:198. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2431-12-198.

Natalucci G, Seitz J, Siebenthal KV, Bucher HU, Molinari L, Jenni OG et al. The role of birthweight discordance in the intellectual and motor outcome for triplets at early school age. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2011 Sep;53(9):822-828. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2011.04024.x. Epub 2011 Jun 27.

Schlapbach LJ, Aebischer M, Adams M, Natalucci G, Bonhoeffer J, Latzin P et al. Impact of sepsis on neurodevelopmental outcome in a Swiss National Cohort of extremely premature infants. Pediatrics. 2011 Aug;128(2):e348-57. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2010-3338. Epub 2011 Jul 18.