Food and Behaviour Research

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13 Aug 2013 - ScienceDaily - DHA-enriched formula in infancy linked to positive cognitive outcomes in childhood

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.