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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DIETARY INFLUENCES ON PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL FUNCTION IN CHILDREN Title: A longitudinal study of differences in electroencephalographic activity among breastfed, milk formula-fed, and soy formula-fed infants during the first year of life

Authors
item Jing, Honkui -
item Gilchrist, Janet -
item Badger, Thomas -
item Pivik, Rudolph -

Submitted to: Early Human Development
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 2, 2010
Publication Date: March 10, 2010
Citation: Jing, H., Gilchrist, J.M., Badger, T.M., Pivik, R.T. 2010. A longitudinal study of differences in electroencephalographic activity among breastfed, milk formula-fed, and soy formula-fed infants during the first year of life. Early Human Development. 86(1):119-125.

Interpretive Summary: We looked at whether there were differences in the development of brain electrical activity (EEG) during the first year of life in infants fed one of the three the major infant diets, i.e., breast milk or formula (milk-based or soy-based). We found diet-related variations in the patterns of EEG development that were greater between breastfed and formula-fed groups than between formula-fed groups. EEG development also differed between boys and girls, particularly for higher frequency activity (> 9 Hz). Boys in the breastfed group showed greater amounts of this activity than either breastfed girls or formula-fed boys. Gender differences among formula-fed infants was more varied, with greater similarities across groups between boys than girls, and with MF girls generally showing higher values than SF girls. These diet-related variations in EEG development may reflect differences in brain structure and function that may put infants on different paths along which cognitive and brain function development will proceed.

Technical Abstract: The extent to which adequate nutrition from infant diets ddifferentially influences developmental outcomes in healthy infants has not been determined. Thus, our aim was to compare the effects of the major infant diets on development of brain electrical activity during infancy. The study design consisted of scalp EEG signals (124 sites) recorded from the same infants during quiet wakefulness at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. We used healthy, full-term infants (40/group; gender matched) either breastfed (BF) or fed milk formula (MF) or soy formula (SF) through the first 6 months. Outcome measures were power spectral values for frequencies in the 0.1-30 Hz range. Significant diet-related differences were present across frequency bands and included effects that were time-related [peaks in 0.1-3 Hz at 6 (MF,SF) and 9 months (BF); 3-6 Hz at 6 months (MF, SF > BF); increases in 6-9 Hz from 3-6 months (MF > BF) and from 6 to 9 months (MF > SF)] and gender-related (9-12 Hz and 12-30 Hz: at 9 months BF > MF, SF boys, and MF >SF girls). We conclude that these variations in EEG activity reflect diet-related influences on the development of brain structure and function and suggest that differences in early nutrition may put infants on different neurodevelopmental trajectories along which cognitive and brain function development will proceed.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014