• Association between admission criteria and body composition among young children with moderate acute malnutrition, a cross-sectional study from Burkina Faso.

      Fabiansen, C; Cichon, B; Yameogo, CW; Iuel-Brockdorf, A-S; Phelan, K; Wells, JC; Ritz, C; Filteau, S; Briend, A; Christensen, VB; et al. (Springer Nature, 2020-08-06)
      Children with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) are treated based on low weight-for-length z-score (WLZ), low mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) or both. This study aimed to assess associations of admission criteria and body composition (BC), to improve treatment of MAM. We undertook a cross-sectional study among 6-23 months old Burkinabe children with MAM. Fat-free (FFM) and fat mass (FM) were determined by deuterium dilution and expressed as FFM (FFMI) and FM index (FMI). Of 1,489 children, 439 (29.5%) were recruited by low MUAC only (MUAC-O), 734 (49.3%) by low WLZ and low MUAC (WLZ-MUAC) and 316 (21.2%) by low WLZ only (WLZ-O). Thus, 1,173 (78.8%) were recruited by low MUAC, with or without low WLZ (ALL-MUAC). After adjustments, WLZ-O had 89 g (95% confidence interval (CI) 5; 172) lower FFM compared to MUAC-O. Similarly, WLZ-O had 0.89 kg/m2 (95% CI 0.77; 1.01) lower FFMI compared to MUAC-O, whereas there was no difference for FMI. However, boys included by WLZ-O compared to MUAC-O had 0.21 kg/m2 (95% CI 0.05; 0.38) higher FMI. In contrast, girls included by WLZ-O had 0.17 (95% CI 0.01; 0.33) kg/m2 lower FMI compared to MUAC-O (interaction, p = 0.002). We found that different criteria for admission into MAM treatment programmes select children with differences in BC, especially FFMI.
    • Impact of food supplements on early child development in children with moderate acute malnutrition: A randomised 2 x 2 x 3 factorial trial in Burkina Faso

      Olsen, MF; Iuel-Brockdorff, AS; Yameogo, CW; Cichon, B; Fabiansen, C; Filteau, S; Phelan, K; Ouedraogo, A; Michaelsen, KF; Gladstone, M; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2020-12-23)
      Background Lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) and corn–soy blends (CSBs) with varying soy and milk content are used in treatment of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). We assessed the impact of these supplements on child development. Methods and findings We conducted a randomised 2 × 2 × 3 factorial trial to assess the effectiveness of 12 weeks’ supplementation with LNS or CSB, with either soy isolate or dehulled soy, and either 0%, 20%, or 50% of protein from milk, on child development among 6–23-month-old children with MAM. Recruitment took place at 5 health centres in Province du Passoré, Burkina Faso between September 2013 and August 2014. The study was fully blinded with respect to soy quality and milk content, while study participants were not blinded with respect to matrix. This analysis presents secondary trial outcomes: Gross motor, fine motor, and language development were assessed using the Malawi Development Assessment Tool (MDAT). Of 1,609 children enrolled, 54.7% were girls, and median age was 11.3 months (interquartile range [IQR] 8.2–16.0). Twelve weeks follow-up was completed by 1,548 (96.2%), and 24 weeks follow-up was completed by 1,503 (93.4%); follow-up was similar between randomised groups. During the study, 4 children died, and 102 children developed severe acute malnutrition (SAM). There was no difference in adverse events between randomised groups. At 12 weeks, the mean MDAT z-scores in the whole cohort had increased by 0.33 (95% CI: 0.28, 0.37), p < 0.001 for gross motor; 0.26 (0.20, 0.31), p < 0.001 for fine motor; and 0.14 (0.09, 0.20), p < 0.001 for language development. Children had larger improvement in language z-scores if receiving supplements with milk (20%: 0.09 [−0.01, 0.19], p = 0.08 and 50%: 0.11 [0.01, 0.21], p = 0.02), although the difference only reached statistical significance for 50% milk. Post hoc analyses suggested that this effect was specific to boys (interaction p = 0.02). The fine motor z-scores were also improved in children receiving milk, but only when 20% milk was added to CSB (0.18 [0.03, 0.33], p = 0.02). Soy isolate over dehulled soy increased language z-scores by 0.07 (−0.01, 0.15), p = 0.10, although not statistically significant. Post hoc analyses suggested that LNS benefited gross motor development among boys more than did CSB (interaction p = 0.04). Differences between supplement groups did not persist at 24 weeks, but MDAT z-scores continued to increase post-supplementation. The lack of an unsupplemented control group limits us from determining the overall effects of nutritional supplementation for children with MAM. Conclusions In this study, we found that child development improved during and after supplementation for treatment of MAM. Milk protein was beneficial for language and fine motor development, while suggested benefits related to soy quality and supplement matrix merit further investigation. Supplement-specific effects were not found post-intervention, but z-scores continued to improve, suggesting a sustained overall effect of supplementation.
    • Thymus size in children with moderate malnutrition: a cohort study from Burkina Faso

      Rytter, MJ; Cichon, B; Fabiansen, C; Yameogo, CW; Windinmi, SZ; Michaelsen, KF; Filteau, S; Jeppesen, DL; Friis, H; Briend, A; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2020-07-20)
      Background: Moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) affects millions of children, increasing their risk of dying from infections. Thymus atrophy may be a marker of malnutrition-associated immunodeficiency, but factors associated with thymus size in children with MAM are unknown, as is the effect of nutritional interventions on thymus size. Methods: Thymus size was measured by ultrasound in 279 children in Burkina Faso with MAM, diagnosed by low mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) and/or low weight-for-length z-score (WLZ), who received 12 weeks treatment with different food supplements as part of a randomized trial. Correlates of thymus size and of changes in thymus size after treatment, and after another 12 weeks of follow-up were identified. Results: Thymus size correlated positively with age, anthropometry and blood haemoglobin, and was smaller in children with malaria. Children with malnutrition diagnosed using MUAC had a smaller thymus than children diagnosed based on WLZ. Thymus size increased during and after treatment, similarly across the different food supplement groups. Conclusions: In children with MAM, the thymus is smaller in children with anaemia or malaria, and grows with recovery. Assuming that thymus size reflects vulnerability, low MUAC seems to identify more vulnerable children than low WLZ in children with MAM. Impact: Thymus atrophy is known to be a marker of the immunodeficiency associated with malnutrition in children.In children with moderate malnutrition, we found the thymus to be smaller in children with anaemia or malaria.Assuming that thymus size reflects vulnerability, low MUAC seems to identify more vulnerable children than low weight for length.Thymus atrophy appears reversible with recovery from malnutrition, with similar growth seen in children randomized to treatment with different nutritional supplements.