What's the Latest Development?

In an experiment using MRI machines, researchers have found that breastfeeding improves brain development in infants when compared to breastfeeding mixed with formula and formula alone. "The research found that by age 2, babies who had been breastfed exclusively for at least three months had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to children who were fed formula exclusively or who were fed a combination of formula and breastmilk. The extra growth was most pronounced in parts of the brain associated with language, emotional function, and cognition, the research showed."

What's the Big Idea?

The study, completed at Brown University, found that the duration of breastfeeding also affects cognitive growth: Babies breastfed for more than a year demonstrated significantly more brain development than those who were breastfed for less than a year. "[Researchers] then backed up their imaging data with a set of basic cognitive tests on the older children. Those tests found increased language performance, visual reception, and motor control performance in the breastfed group." The experiment's lead researcher, Dr. Sean Deoni, said: "I think I would argue that combined with all the other evidence, it seems like breastfeeding is absolutely beneficial."

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