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Infant formula composition and educational performance: a protocol to extend follow-up for a set of randomised controlled trials using linked administrative education records

Verfürden, M; Harron, K; Jerrim, J; Fewtrell, M; Gilbert, R; (2020) Infant formula composition and educational performance: a protocol to extend follow-up for a set of randomised controlled trials using linked administrative education records. BMJ Open , 10 (7) , Article e035968. 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035968. Green open access

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Abstract

Introduction: The effect of infant nutrition on long-term cognition is important for parents and policy makers. However, most clinical trials typically have short follow-up periods, when measures of cognition are poorly predictive of later function. The few trials with longer-term follow-up have high levels of attrition, which can lead to selection bias, and in turn to erroneous interpretation of long-term harms and benefits of infant nutrition. We address the need for unbiased, long-term follow-up, by linking measures of educational performance from administrative education records. Educational performance is a meaningful marker of cognitive function in children and it is strongly correlated with IQ. We aim to evaluate educational performance for children who, as infants, were part of a series of trials that randomised participants to either nutritionally modified infant formula or standard formula. Most trialists anticipated positive effects of these interventions on later cognitive function. Methods and analysis: Using data from 1923 participants of seven randomised infant formula trials linked to the English National Pupil Database (NPD), this study will provide new insights into the effect of nutrient intake in infancy on school achievement. Our primary outcome will be the mean differences in z-scores between intervention and control groups for a compulsory Mathematics exam sat at age 16. Secondary outcomes will be z-scores for a compulsory English exam at age 16 and z-scores for compulsory Mathematics and English exams at age 11. We will also evaluate intervention effects on the likelihood of receiving special educational needs (SEN) support. All analyses will be performed separately by trial. Ethics and dissemination: Research ethics approval, and approval from the Health Research Authority Confidentiality Advisory Group, has been obtained for this study. The results of this study will be disseminated to scientific, practitioner, and lay audiences, submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals, and will contribute towards a PhD dissertation.

Type: Article
Title: Infant formula composition and educational performance: a protocol to extend follow-up for a set of randomised controlled trials using linked administrative education records
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035968
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035968
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: clinical trials, nutrition & dietetics, paediatric neurology, public health
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106671
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