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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DIETARY INFLUENCES ON PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL FUNCTION IN CHILDREN Title: Diet and gender are important factors modulating low frequency EEG activity during processing of language sounds in 3 month old infants

Authors
item Pivik, Rudolph -
item Andres, Aline -
item Badger, Thomas

Submitted to: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 2010
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
Citation: Pivik, R.T., Andres, A., Badger, T.M. 2011. Diet and gender are important factors modulating low frequency EEG activity during processing of language sounds in 3 month old infants. The FASEB Journal. 25(Meeting Abstracts):211.4.

Interpretive Summary: To study how brain processing of language stimuli early in development is affected by diet we measured the amounts (power) of low frequency brain electrical activity used by 3 month old infants [breastfed or fed milk-based or soy formula] while they heard speech sounds (syllables). We found that brain networks involved in processing speech sounds were better developed (higher power levels) in breastfed than formula-fed infants, and in soy formula-fed males than males fed milk formula. The basis for these differences and their effects on language development are unclear at this time. Contrary to concerns about adverse effects of soy-formula on development, these results indicate that in 3 month old infants brain processes are more developed in soy-fed than milk formula-fed infants.

Technical Abstract: Little is known about how early postnatal diet affects brain processes related to cognitive function in healthy infants. To address this question we examined EEG activity recorded from 3 month old infants [breastfed (BF: n = 104, 55 males), milk-based formula fed (MF: n = 114, 57 males) or soy formula fed (SF: n = 108, 55 males)] as they were being presented two syllables.(oddball paradigm). Time-frequency analyses were conducted on EEG (.5-12 Hz in 2 Hz bands) recorded over temporal brain regions during the first 250 msec following syllable presentation. Data were analyzed using ANOVAs and post-hoc t-tests. Group differences in post-stimulus power [BF > MF (across bands, all p = .05); BF > SF (10-12 Hz, p < .05) largely reflected gender influences, i.e., Males: BF > MF, all bands, p = .05; SF > MF, .5-6 Hz, p = .05); BF > SF,10-12 Hz, p = .05; Females: all across-group and frequency comparisons of response power were non-significant. Only MF infants showed gender differences in power (females > males: 4 Hz and above, all p = .05). These findings show that: early infant diets differentially influence the development of EEG neural networks engaged during initial acoustic and phonemic evaluation of language sounds; these networks are least-well developed in MF males; among males in formula groups, network development was greater in SF than MF infants; and, no diet effects were observed in females.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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