Breastfeeding and IQ -the Latest Data

A recent study (JY Bernard et al J Pediatr 2017; 183: 43-50) takes a look at the relationship between breastfeeding, specific polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels and intelligence quotient at age 5-6 years.

The authors used the French EDEN cohort with 1080 children.

Key findings:

  • Breastfed children had higher IQs by 4.5 points on Wechsler Scales –though this dropped to 1.3 (not significant) when adjusted for confounders
  • DHA was positively associated with higher IQ.  Children exposed to colostrum high in linoleic acid (LA)/ow in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) had lower IQs than those exposed to colostrum high in DHA/low LA

The authors speculate that one reason that supplemental DHA has not been shown to be effective could be related to a high intake of LA.

Related article: CT Collins et al. NEJM 2017; 376: 1245-55.  In this study, the authors showed that enteral supplemental of DHA (60 mg/kg) did not result in a lower risk of physiological bronchopulmonary dysplasia in a randomized trial of 1273 born before 29 weeks gestation.

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