Infant feeding effects on early neurocognitive development in Asian children.

TitleInfant feeding effects on early neurocognitive development in Asian children.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCai S, Pang WWei, Low YLing, Sim LWee, Sam SChian, Bruntraeger MBianka, Wong EQinlong, Fok D, Broekman BFP, Singh L, Richmond J, Agarwal P, Qiu A, Saw SMei, Yap F, Godfrey KM, Gluckman PD, Chong Y-S, Meaney MJ, Kramer MS, Rifkin-Graboi A
Corporate Authorsgroup Gstudy
JournalAm J Clin Nutr
Date Published2015 Feb
KeywordsAsian Continental Ancestry Group, Breast Feeding, Child Behavior, Child Development, Child, Preschool, Cognition, Female, Humans, Infant, Intelligence, Language Development, Linear Models, Male, Memory, Prospective Studies, Social Behavior, Socioeconomic Factors

BACKGROUND: Breastfeeding has been shown to enhance global measures of intelligence in children. However, few studies have examined associations between breastfeeding and specific cognitive task performance in the first 2 y of life, particularly in an Asian population.OBJECTIVE: We assessed associations between early infant feeding and detailed measures of cognitive development in the first 2 y of life in healthy Asian children born at term.DESIGN: In a prospective cohort study, neurocognitive testing was performed in 408 healthy children (aged 6, 18, and 24 mo) from uncomplicated pregnancies (i.e., birth weight >2500 and <4000 g, gestational age ≥37 wk, and 5-min Apgar score ≥9). Tests included memory (deferred imitation, relational binding, habituation) and attention tasks (visual expectation, auditory oddball) as well as the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (BSID-III). Children were stratified into 3 groups (low, intermediate, and high) on the basis of breastfeeding duration and exclusivity.RESULTS: After potential confounding variables were controlled for, significant associations and dose-response relations were observed for 4 of the 15 tests. Higher breastfeeding exposure was associated with better memory at 6 mo, demonstrated by greater preferential looking toward correctly matched items during early portions of a relational memory task (i.e., relational binding task: P-trend = 0.015 and 0.050 for the first two 1000-ms time bins, respectively). No effects of breastfeeding were observed at 18 mo. At 24 mo, breastfed children were more likely to display sequential memory during a deferred imitation memory task (P-trend = 0.048), and toddlers with more exposure to breastfeeding scored higher in receptive language [+0.93 (0.23, 1.63) and +1.08 (0.10, 2.07) for intermediate- and high-breastfeeding groups, respectively, compared with the low-breastfeeding group], as well as expressive language [+0.58 (-0.06, 1.23) and +1.22 (0.32, 2.12) for intermediate- and high-breastfeeding groups, respectively] assessed via the BSID-III.CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest small but significant benefits of breastfeeding for some aspects of memory and language development in the first 2 y of life, with significant improvements in only 4 of 15 indicators. Whether the implicated processes confer developmental advantages is unknown and represents an important area for future research. This trial was registered at as NCT01174875.

Alternate JournalAm. J. Clin. Nutr.
PubMed ID25646330