Science News

"Breast"-Food for Thought

Sun, 11th Nov 2007

Scientists have uncovered the mechanism by which breast feeding can boost brain power.

It's not all in the mind so much as all in the genome, because Researcher Terrie Moffitt studied over 3000 children from Britain and New Zealand and identified two forms of a gene called FADS2 that is carried on chromosome 11 and helps to process fatty acids.

Carriers of the "C" form of the gene, which is carried by 90% of the population, gain a 7-point IQ benefit when they are breast fed, presumably because their developing brains can make the most efficient use of the arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids that are present at high levels in breast milk.

This means, says Moffitt, that if every baby was breastfed there would potentially be twice as many gifted children. But most significantly, the result lends biochemical credence to studies going back many years that have consistently shown that breastfed babies are largely at an IQ advantage.

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