Infant feeding 'may affect brain'

Nutrition in the first weeks of life could have a profound impact on the way the brain develops, research suggests.

London researchers found preterm babies fed enriched formula milk in their first weeks consistently outperformed other premature babies in IQ tests. Their latest study, published in Pediatric Research, shows the benefits continue into the teenage years. It also found a particular part of the brain is better developed in those given the enriched milk.

The team from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the UCL Institute of Child Health note that while nutrition has been linked with behaviour, their findings are among the first to show how early feeding may even alter brain structure.

Lead researcher Dr Elizabeth Isaacs said: "It is not clear whether this just relates to preterm infants, who have very specific development issues. But obviously a next question would be if there are any wider implications, both for feeding beyond those first few weeks, and for babies who are born at term."

Source - BBC

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