No Long-Term Cognitive Effect of Fatty Acids Found in Infants

Yet high breastfeeding, LCPUFA exposure during first 14 months tied to benefits in mental development

MONDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) supplementation has no effect on children's cognition after age 9; however, a high percentage of breastfeeding and exposure to higher levels of LCPUFA during the first 14 months is positively associated with child mental development, according to two studies published online Sept. 19 in Pediatrics.

Elizabeth B. Isaacs, Ph.D., from the University College London Institute of Child Health, and colleagues investigated whether LCPUFA-supplements or control formula given to 107 infants between birth and 9 months were associated with cognitive improvements after age 9 years, and examined the effects of gender and feeding group. There were no significant differences on any cognitive measure between the diet groups. Significant associations were observed between gender and supplementation, with girls showing beneficial effects in literacy; and between feeding group and supplementation, with beneficial effects seen for those who received only formula.

Mónica Guxens, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues assessed the role of parental psychosocial factors and colostrum LCPUFA levels in breastfeeding and children's neurodevelopment. A high percentage of breastfeeding during the first 14 months was positively associated with child mental development. Children with a longer duration of breastfeeding exposed to higher ratios between n-3 and n-6 PUFAs in colostrum had significantly elevated mental scores compared to those with low breastfeeding duration and low exposure.

"LCPUFA levels seem to play a beneficial role in children's mental development when breastfeeding levels are high," Guxens and colleagues write.

Several authors from the first study disclosed financial ties to the infant formula manufacturing industry.

Abstract - Isaacs
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Abstract - Guxens
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