Breastfeeding linked to child's intelligence later in life - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Breastfeeding linked to child's intelligence later in life

Posted: Updated:
  • Melissa's HealthworksMore>>

  • How to reduce those food allergies

    How to reduce those food allergies

    Monday, July 14 2014 4:28 PM EDT2014-07-14 20:28:55 GMT
    Ask the DoctorAsk the Doctor
    The number of allergies is skyrocketing. Some reports show as many as one-in-five Americans is allergic to something, including different types of food. The important question is: Is there anyway to reduce this obnoxious and potentially life-changing problem?
    The number of allergies is skyrocketing. Some reports show as many as one-in-five Americans is allergic to something, including different types of food. The important question is: Is there anyway to reduce this obnoxious and potentially life-changing problem?
  • A surprising health boost

    A surprising health boost

    Monday, July 14 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-07-14 18:56:08 GMT
    Doctors often say your "gut" is the gateway to health. If it's healthy, chances are you are healthy. That's why it's important to know about a condition called "leaky gut" that can cause all kinds of issues.
    Doctors often say your "gut" is the gateway to health. If it's healthy, chances are you are healthy. That's why it's important to know about a condition called "leaky gut" that can cause all kinds of issues.
  • Eating fish can help prevent a stroke

    Eating fish can help prevent a stroke

    Monday, July 7 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-07 19:00:50 GMT
    Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of adult disability, but doctors want you to know that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented! Cardiologist Dr. John Higgins, from U.T. Memorial Hermann and Harris Health, shares some ways to prevent this top killer.
    Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of adult disability, but doctors want you to know that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented! Cardiologist Dr. John Higgins, from U.T. Memorial Hermann and Harris Health, shares some ways to prevent this top killer.
(FOX NEWS) -

Mothers faced with the decision of whether or not to breastfeed now have new evidence to consider: skipping formula in favor of breast milk could affect a child's intelligence later in life.

In a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics, lead author Dr. Mandy Belfort, of the Boston Children's Hospital, sought to examine the link between the breastfeeding and a child's cognitive function as they develop.

Belfort and her colleagues gathered data from 1,312 mothers and children in the United States, tracking everything from the mother's frequency of breastfeeding to other factors including the mother's intelligence, the mother and father's education levels, measures of the home environment, the mother's employment and the type of childcare the baby received.

While the link between breastfeeding and cognition had been previously explored, many earlier studies did not control for these additional factors.

"Many previous studies have been criticized because any link you might observe between breastfeeding and childhood intelligence could be explained by those other factors," Belfort told FoxNews.com.

Belfort then performed a series of tests measuring the children's cognitive development after infancy. At age 3, the children underwent the higher Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, a measure of receptive language, or how well a child understands language.

"A child's receptive language is highly correlated with general intelligence as measured by more typical IQ tests," Belfort said.

After analyzing the data, researchers discovered that for each additional month that a child was breastfed, through a year, their language score was .2 points higher – a statistically significant finding.

Then, at age 7, the same children were assessed using the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, a measure of the child's IQ. For this test, each additional month that a child was breastfed through a year was correlated with an increase in IQ score by a third of a point – another statistically significant discovery.

However, when children took the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning, which specifically tests memory and learning capabilities, the difference between children who were breastfed and those who weren't was not significant.

The study authors were also interested in exploring whether or not there was a link between a mother's consumption of fish and the intelligence of children who were breastfed – though they did not find any significant effect there either.

"I would say that it is reassuring, it didn't seem like eating fish is harmful, because of concerns about mercury in fish," Belfort said.

Though researchers were able to distinguish a small but clear link between breastfeeding and cognitive development, they remain uncertain as to why breast milk appears to be superior to infant formula.

"Formula is designed to be as close to breast milk as possible…but it is definitely possible that there are nutrients or non-nutrient factors in breast milk not in formula that may benefit baby's brain," Belfort said

Overall, Belfort noted that the study's findings support national recommendations urging women to breastfeed exclusively through age 6 months and to continue at least partial breastfeeding through 1 year of age.

However, many factors go into a woman's decision to breastfeed including whether or not she produces enough milk, how quickly she needs to return to work and how friendly her workplace is to breastfeeding.

"There are certainly many factors people have to weigh into making that decision," Belfort said. "The cognitive advantage is relatively small so people need to weigh many, many different factors in making this decision."

Overall, Belfort emphasizes that women should do what is best for them and their child – and if a woman chooses not to breastfeed, there are many other things she can do to ensure her child develops normally.

"There are so many things people can do to optimize a baby's development, this is but one," Belfort said. "Turn off the TV, talk to your baby, read to your baby, play with your baby. Those are really important ways to stimulate baby's development."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/07/30/breastfeeding-linked-to-childs-intelligence-later-in-life/?intcmp=obnetwork#ixzz2aXyJd7Fx

Powered by WorldNow

KRIV FOX 26
4261 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027

Phone: (713) 479-2801
Fax: (713) 479-2859

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices