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Improved Neurodevelopmental Outcomes at 5.5 Years of Age in Children Who Received Bovine Milk Fat Globule Membrane and Lactoferrin in Infant Formula Through 12 Months: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Colombo J, Harris C, Wampler J, Zhuang W, Shaddy D, Liu B, Wu S (2023) The Journal of Paedicatrics  May 14;261:113483 doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2023.113483 

Web URL: Read this article on PubMed



To evaluate the neurodevelopmental outcomes at 5.5 years of age in children who were previously randomized to cow milk-based infant formula (control) or similar formula (milk fat globule membrane + lactoferrin) with added sources of bovine milk fat globule membrane and bovine lactoferrin through 12 months of age.


Children who completed study feeding were invited to participate in follow-up assessments: cognitive development across multiple domains (primary outcome; Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence, 4th Edition), inhibitory control/rule learning (Stroop Task), flexibility/rule learning (Dimensional Change Card Sort), and behavior/emotion (Child Behavior Checklist).


Of 292 eligible participants (control: 148, milk fat globule membrane + lactoferrin: 144), 116 enrolled and completed assessments (control: 59, milk fat globule membrane + LF: 57). There were no group demographic differences except family income (milk fat globule membrane + lactoferrin significantly higher).

Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence, 4th Edition composite scores (mean ± standard error) for Visual Spatial (100.6 ± 1.7 vs 95.3 ± 1.7; P = .027), Processing Speed (107.1 ± 1.4 vs 100.0 ± 1.4; P < .001), and Full-Scale IQ (98.7 ± 1.4 vs 93.5 ± 1.5; P = .012) were significantly higher for milk fat globule membrane + lactoferrin versus control, even after controlling for demographic/socioeconomic factors. Stroop Task scores were significantly higher in milk fat globule membrane + lactoferrin versus control (P < .001). Higher Dimensional Change Card Sort scores (P = .013) in the border phase (most complex/challenging) were detected, and more children passed the border phase (32% vs 12%; P = .039) for milk fat globule membrane versus control. No group differences in Child Behavior Checklist score were detected.


Children who received infant formula to 12 months of age with added bovine milk fat globule membrane and bovine lactoferrin versus standard formula demonstrated improved cognitive outcomes in multiple domains at 5.5 years of age, including measures of intelligence and executive function.