Cardiovascular Impact May Track Into Adulthood
COLUMBIA, Md., May 8 -- Martek Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq: MATK) today commented on the results of a study published in the May 2003 edition of the British Medical Journal. Data from the study demonstrated that infants fed formula supplemented with the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) experienced lower blood pressure in later childhood than infants fed formula not supplemented with DHA and ARA. Study investigators suggest that since blood pressure often tracks from childhood into adult life, infants provided with dietary DHA and ARA may experience reduced cardiovascular risk in adulthood.
This study and its findings serve as a follow-up to a 1998 Lancet study in which participants were fed a formula supplemented with DHA and ARA, or a formula without DHA and ARA but otherwise nutritionally similar, for the first four months of life. The multicenter, randomized, controlled trial also contained a reference group of breastfed infants.
Nearly two-thirds of the participants from the original trial were enrolled in this follow-up study and had their blood pressure assessed at a mean age of 70.1 months. The study group fed the DHA/ARA-supplemented formula had significantly lower mean blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure than the non-supplementation group. The diastolic blood pressure of breastfed children was significantly lower than that of the non-supplementation group but did not differ from the DHA/ARA-supplemented group.
"While it is well documented that DHA and ARA contribute to developmental benefits during the months immediately following birth, this study provides important, long-term evidence that these advantages extend well beyond infancy," said Henry "Pete" Linsert, Jr., Martek Chairman and CEO. "With the understanding that blood pressure tracks from childhood into later life, it is plausible that DHA/ARA supplementation during infancy may have a positive cardiovascular impact in adulthood."
Martek produces and manufactures proprietary oils that contain DHA and ARA. The company's proprietary blend of DHA and ARA is the only source of these nutrients that the FDA has cleared for use in infant formula.
Martek Biosciences Corporation develops, manufactures and sells products from microalgae. The Company's products include: (1) specialty, nutritional oils for infant formula that aid in the development of the eyes and central nervous system in newborns; (2) nutritional supplements and food ingredients that may play a beneficial role in promoting mental and cardiovascular health throughout life; and (3) new, powerful fluorescent markers for diagnostics, rapid miniaturized screening, and gene and protein detection.
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding Martek's products. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause future actual results to differ due to a variety of risk factors, including without limitation those factors set forth in Martek's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.