The past few years have resulted in a plethora of articles describing the importance of adequate vitamin D stores for infants, children, adolescents, and most recently pregnant mothers. Case in point is the article we are early releasing this week by Whitehouse et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2644). The investigators obtained vitamin D levels in Australian mothers at 18 weeks of pregnancy, and then evaluated behavioral/developmental and language milestones at various ages from toddlerhood through adolescence. The results will surprise you and are worth boning up on by reading this thought-provoking article.
Speaking of neurocognitive development, vitamin D is not the only essential ingredient for better outcomes. Helderman et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-1796) looked at a variety of other antenatal factors that influenced the cognitive outcomes of toddlers at 2 years of age. Finally, we include one more study on cognitive outcomes in infants — this time very low birth weight children at the ages of 2 and 5 who were compared to a group of full-term healthy controls. The good news is that whatever the neurocognitive differences in infancy — with the initiation of early assessment and intervention — the degree of delay noted in infancy does not progress. Think carefully about reading all these articles on cognitive outcomes — you’ll certainly find them brain food for thought.