New research finds breastfed children scored higher on neurocognitive tests. Researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) analyzed thousands of cognitive tests performed by nine and ten-year-old children whose mothers reported being breastfed, and have compared these results to scores of children who were not. .
“Our results suggest that any amount of breastfeeding has a positive cognitive impact, even after just a few months.” Daniel Adan Lopez, Ph.D. candidate in the epidemiology program who is the first author of the study recently published in the journal Public health frontiers. “That’s what’s exciting about these results. Hopefully from a political point of view this can help improve motivation to breastfeed.
Hayley Martin, Ph.D., a fourth-year medical student in the Medical Scientist Education program and co-author of the study, focuses her research on breastfeeding. “There is already established research showing the many benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child. The findings of this study are important for families, especially before and soon after birth when making decisions about breastfeeding. breastfeeding are taken. It can encourage breastfeeding goals of one year or more. It also highlights the critical importance of continued work to provide equity-oriented access to breastfeeding support, prenatal education and practices aimed at removing structural barriers to breastfeeding. “
The researchers looked at the test results of more than 9,000 participants aged nine and ten in the Adolescent Cognitive Brain Development (ABCD) study. Variations were found in the cumulative cognitive test scores of breastfed and non-breastfed children. There was also evidence that the longer a child breastfed, the higher their score.
“The strongest association was in children who were breastfed for more than 12 months,” Lopez said. “The scores of children who were breastfed up to the age of 7 to 12 months were slightly lower, and then the scores for children from one to six months dropped a little more. But all scores were higher than those of children who did not. were not breastfeeding at all. ” Previous studies have shown that breastfeeding has no impact on executive function or memory, the results of this study made similar results.
“This supports the foundation of the work already underway around lactation and breastfeeding and its impact on a child’s health,” said Ed Freedman, Ph.D., principal investigator of the ABCD study in Rochester. and lead author of the study. “These are results that would not have been possible without the ABCD study and the large dataset it provides.”
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