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DHA-enriched formula in infancy linked to positive cognitive outcomes in childhood
Date:8/12/2013

LAWRENCE - University of Kansas scientists have found that infants who were fed formula enriched with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) from birth to 12 months scored significantly better than a control group on several measures of intelligence conducted between the ages of three to six years.

Specifically, the children showed accelerated development on detailed tasks involving pattern discrimination, rule-learning and inhibition between the ages of three to five years of age as well as better performance on two widely-used standardized tests of intelligence: the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test at age five and the Weschler Primary Preschool Scales of Intelligence at age six.

"These results support the contention that studies of nutrition and cognition should include more comprehensive and sensitive assessments that are administered multiple times through early childhood," said John Colombo, study director and KU professor of psychology.

The results of LCPUFA supplementation studies have been mixed according to Colombo, a neuroscientist who specializes in the measurement of early neurocognitive development, but many of those studies have relied mainly on children's performance on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development at 18 months.

In the randomized, double-blind study, 81 infants were fed one of four formulas from birth to 12 months; three with varying levels of two LCPUFAs (DHA and ARA) and one formula with no LCPUFA. Beginning at 18 months, the children were tested every six months until six years of age on age-appropriate standardized and specific cognitive tests.

At 18 months the children did not perform any better on standardized tests of performance and intelligence, but by age three study directors Colombo and Susan E. Carlson, A. J. Rice Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition at KUMC, began to see significant differences in the performance of children who were fed the enriched formulas on finer
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Contact: Karen Salisbury Henry
kahenry@ku.edu
785-864-0756
University of Kansas
Source:Eurekalert

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