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May 2012

Nutrient Supplementation and Neurodevelopment: Timing Is the Key

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Global Pediatrics (Dr Cusick), Department of Pediatrics and Child Psychology (Dr Georgieff), University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(5):481-482. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.199

The human brain develops throughout a person's life span and is dependent on an adequate supply of nutrients to support its development.1 One of the most rapid periods of overall brain growth occurs during the last trimester in the fetus through the first 3 postnatal years.2 Thus, there is a major public health emphasis on promoting nutritional adequacy during these formative years in order to optimize developmental outcome. The brain, however, is not a homogenous organ with respect to its development. Individual brain regions (eg, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex) and processes (eg, myelination) exhibit variable trajectories with respect to the timing of the onset of development and the speed of development.2