JUL 18, 2022 4:00 PM PDT

Maternal Milk for Preterm Infants Linked to Better Academic Performance, Lower ADHD Risk

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Babies born preterm who are fed maternal milk have greater academic achievement, higher IQ’s, and a lower risk of ADHD than preterm peers not fed maternal milk. The corresponding study was published in JAMA.

Children born preterm are at a higher risk of lower academic achievement and developing ADHD than their full-term peers. In the current study, researchers sought to see how maternal milk feeding impacts cognitive, academic, and behavioral outcomes of infants born preterm.

To do so, they examined the neurodevelopmental outcomes for 586 infants born at under 33 weeks of gestation. They examined data including the volume of maternal milk fed to infants each day, how long maternal feeding continued, and neurodevelopmental outcomes at seven years of age, including academic achievement, symptoms of ADHD, and executive function.

In the end, the researchers noted that higher maternal milk intake was linked to higher performance IQ, higher reading and math scores, and fewer ADHD symptoms. After controlling for confounders such as clinical and social factors, the researchers noted that the benefits of maternal milk were strongest among infants born at the lowest gestational ages- especially those born below 30 weeks of gestation. 

As the study is observational in nature, the researchers note that they cannot determine causality and that other factors they were unable to account for may determine both ability to provide maternal milk and academic achievement. 

“Our study confirms recommended strategies for supporting parents to provide maternal milk for preterm infants,” said corresponding author Mandy Brown Belfort, MD, MPH, of the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine. 

“And it strengthens the call for health policies and parental leave policies that support rather than work against parents. As a society, we need to invest in families — it’s an investment that will continue to benefit children when they reach school age,” she noted. 

 

Sources: Neuroscience News, JAMA

 

 

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
JUL 23, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Antibiotics Affect Gut Microbiome of Male and Female Rats Differently
JUL 23, 2022
Antibiotics Affect Gut Microbiome of Male and Female Rats Differently
Antibiotics induce sex-specific effects on the gut microbiome of male and female rats. The corresponding study was publi ...
AUG 15, 2022
Neuroscience
COVID-19 Lockdowns Expanded Bird Habitats in Cities
AUG 15, 2022
COVID-19 Lockdowns Expanded Bird Habitats in Cities
Researchers found that reduced human activity due to COVID-19 lockdowns expanded bird populations' range of habitats ...
AUG 17, 2022
Health & Medicine
Stress & Cognitive Function: Friend or Foe?
AUG 17, 2022
Stress & Cognitive Function: Friend or Foe?
Stress is inevitable, at times overwhelming, and when in the thick of it, it can feel insurmountable. However, sometimes ...
AUG 18, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Why Pro Athletes Treat Their Pain with Weed
AUG 18, 2022
Why Pro Athletes Treat Their Pain with Weed
Many pro athletes swear by using cannabis for various sports injuries. Why?
AUG 29, 2022
Health & Medicine
US-Funded Research to be Open Access by 2026 Under New Federal Guidance
AUG 29, 2022
US-Funded Research to be Open Access by 2026 Under New Federal Guidance
If you have ever done research for school or work, or simply been curious about a scientific finding and wanted to read ...
SEP 22, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
A new drug to treat the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia
SEP 22, 2022
A new drug to treat the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder that can affect an individual’s ability to properly inter ...
Loading Comments...