‘The impact of mild maternal nutrient deficiency in the fetal brain – the SWIDDICH study’ has received a grant of just over 12 million SEK in the category ‘clinical study in therapy research’ from the Swedish Research Council for the period 2024-2027.
The purpose of the study is to prevent micronutrient deficits in pregnant women and impaired brain function in the offspring by promoting thyroid function. Several micronutrients, including iodine, selenium, and iron are involved in thyroid metabolism and are key micronutrients during pregnancy as adequate thyroid function is essential for fetal brain development. The project proposes a new, broader approach with combined supplements with all trace elements of relevance for thyroid function to prevent neurodevelopmental consequences in the child.
In a pilot RCT with 200 pregnant women, it was concluded that intervention with the same combined supplement normalized maternal iodine and selenium levels and improved thyroid metabolism.
A large RCT of pregnant women with long-term follow-up of cognitive development in the child is now underway. This is a double-blind RCT with 1264 pregnant women allocated to a multivitamin with minerals (intervention) or without minerals (control).
The study will evaluate whether a daily supplementation with iodine and selenium during pregnancy improves brain function in the child, in terms of cognitive function, psychomotor development and behaviour. The effects on maternal iodine status, thyroid function and pregnancy outcomes will also be investigated. In the children, psychomotor and cognition will be tested at 1.5, 3.5 and 7 years of age. Recruitment is ongoing and will be completed in 2024. Neurodevelopmental follow-up is ongoing.
‘We are very happy for the Swedish Research Council (VR) grant, which ensures the completion of this very ambitious clinical trial with long-term follow up, which will have considerable public health impact’ said Prof Magnus Domellöf, co-applicant for the grant and, together with Anna Chmielewska, responsible researcher for the SWIDDICH study in Umeå. The principal investigator for the study is Helena Filipsson, Gothenburg (picture).