Breastfed babies more intelligent: study

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London, Nov 6 (UNI) Breastfed babies have seven points higher IQ level than those raised on formula milk, British researchers have found.

According to the research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a special category of fatty acids present in mother's milk help in boosting baby's intelligence.

This applies to nine cases out of ten where the new-born inherits a common but newly-identified ''brain boosting'' gene-FADS2 from mother's milk which results in much happier, healthier and brighter childen.

In one set of the study carried out on 1,037 children in New Zealand, IQ was tested at ages seven, nine, 11 and 13 and later DNA samples were gathered from the participants when they reached 18.

The other study monitored 2,232 British twins, whose IQ was measured at five.

Both sets of research found that the IQs of breastfed children were seven points higher, even after their social background was taken into account - so long as they had inherited a particular gene from their parents.

The research reaffirmed that longchain polyunsaturated fatty acids (Pufas) are only present in human breast milk, but not in cow's milk Pufas are thought to be important for childhood brain development because they are essential for the efficient transmission of nerve messages and help to promote the growth of nerve fibres.

''Our findings support the idea that the nutritional content of breast milk accounts for the differences seen in human IQ. But it's not a simple allornone connection: it depends to some extent on the genetic makeup of each infant, ''Daily Mail quoted an author of the study, Professor Terrie Moffitt as saying.

''The argument about intelligence has been about nature versus nurture for at least a century. We're finding that nature and nurture work together,'' Prof Moffitt added.

The link between breast milk and intelligence was first discovered in 1929 and is often used as an incentive to encourage mothers to feed naturally.

UNI

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