A blinded randomized trial of taurine supplementation of preterm infants was conducted at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and Ross Laboratories, Columbus, Ohio. Infants who received taurine supplementation had more mature brainstem auditory evoked responses with a reduction in the interval between stimulus and response at two different stimulation rates. Neurobehavioral development was similar in the supplemented and nonsupplemented groups and there were no differences in weight, length and head circumference in the two groups. [1]

COMMENT. There had been reports in the literature that taurine deficiency retarded growth of primates and caused abnormalities in the electroretinograms in infants. The present study failed to show an effect of taurine deficiency or supplementation on weight gain, but maturation of auditory brainstem evoked responses (BAER) was delayed in preterm infants who were fed taurine deficient diets. Nutritional needs of infants may be evaluated by methods other than clinical signs and growth measures. New approaches such as the BAER to studies of amino acid requirements may provide correlation between maturation of electrophysiological responses, diet and metabolism of the brain.