Neurodevelopment, Growth and Nutrition of the Newborn

2022 University Of Zurich II FLRF

Photo © Universität Zürich; Manfred Richter

The Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Center for Neurodevelopment, Growth and Nutrition of the Newborn (LRF NGN) was jointly established by the University of Zurich (UZH) and FLRF in 2015 to investigate structural brain and functional neurologic development from early infancy to young adulthood, and the factors that influence these processes in low- and high-risk infants.

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

Directed by Professor Giancarlo Natalucci, the LRF NGN explores 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.

The LRF NGN is also conducting basic research into the characterization and biochemical behavior of nutrients and bioactive compounds of breastmilk that may protect cells and stabilize physiological functions. This complements research conducted within the network on sociocultural and economic aspects and long-term effects of breastfeeding.

The center’s research findings have the potential for significant global impact by generating knowledge on neurological development and breastmilk that could influence long-term health of women and children worldwide.

This research could provide a foundation for breakthrough therapies and interventions, promote breastfeeding and impact stunting, hinder cognitive losses, promote employment and decrease poverty, thus contributing to SDGs 1, 3, 4 and 8:

FLRF donated CHF 20 million to endow the LRF NGN – read the press release.

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.

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