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Medicineworld.org: Breastfeeding boost IQ in infants

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Breastfeeding boost IQ in infants




Breastfeeding boosts infants IQs, but only if the babies have a genetic variant that enhances their metabolism of breast milk, a Yale researcher and collaborators report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It is this genetic variant in FADS2, a gene involved in the control of fatty acid pathways, that may help the children make better use of the breast milk and promote the brain development that is linked to a higher IQ score, said Julia Kim-Cohen, assistant professor of psychology and a member of the research team.

Children who do not carry the helpful genetic variant have normal average IQ scores, Kim-Cohen said. Being breastfed for them is not linked to an IQ advantage.



Breastfeeding boost IQ in infants

The study included scientists from Kings College, London, Duke University, and the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The intelligence quotient (IQ) has long been at the heart of debates about nature versus nurture. Twin studies document both strong genetic influences and nongenetic environmental influences on IQ, especially for young children.

This study looked at how long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAS), which are present in human milk but not in cows milk or most infant formulas, are metabolized. LC-PUFAS in breast milk, the authors said, is believed to enhance cognitive development because the fatty acids are mandatory for efficient neurotransmission and are involved in neuronal growth and regeneration.

The study included 1,037 children in New Zealand and 1,116 families with same sex twins in England and Wales. Those who were breastfed and had the genetic variant FADS2 had IQs that were 5.6 to 6.3 points higher than children who were breastfed but did not have the variant.

The finding has a number of implications, including for the public understanding of genetics, the authors said. To date, research on gene-environment interactions has been dominated by the search for genetic variants that increase disease susceptibility to environmental pathogens. However, genes are not only implicated in disease. Here we have shown that a genetic variant may also enhance a favorable response to a health promoting exposure present throughout human ancestry.


Posted by: JoAnn    Source




Did you know?
Breastfeeding boosts infants IQs, but only if the babies have a genetic variant that enhances their metabolism of breast milk, a Yale researcher and collaborators report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It is this genetic variant in FADS2, a gene involved in the control of fatty acid pathways, that may help the children make better use of the breast milk and promote the brain development that is linked to a higher IQ score, said Julia Kim-Cohen, assistant professor of psychology and a member of the research team.

Medicineworld.org: Breastfeeding boost IQ in infants

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