Journal Articles

Synergistic Effects of Human Milk Nutrients in the Support of Infant Recognition Memory: An Observational Study

November 03, 2015

Synergistic Effects of Human Milk Nutrients in the Support of Infant Recognition Memory: An Observational Study, Nutrients, November 3, 2015. Carol L. Cheatham and Kelly Will Sheppard.

Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA and Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

Abstract

The aim was to explore the relation of human milk lutein; choline; and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with recognition memory abilities of six-month-olds. Milk samples obtained three to four months postpartum were analyzed for fatty acids, lutein, and choline. At six months, participants were invited to an electrophysiology session. Recognition memory was tested with a 70–30 oddball paradigm in a high-density 128-lead event-related potential (ERP) paradigm. Complete data were available for 55 participants. Data were averaged at six groupings (Frontal Right; Frontal Central; Frontal Left; Central; Midline; and Parietal) for latency to peak, peak amplitude, and mean amplitude. Difference scores were calculated as familiar minus novel. Final regression models revealed the lutein X free choline interaction was significant for the difference in latency scores at frontal and central areas (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001; respectively). Higher choline levels with higher lutein levels were related to better recognition memory. The DHA X free choline interaction was also significant for the difference in latency scores at frontal, central, and midline areas (p < 0.01; p < 0.001; p < 0.05 respectively). Higher choline with higher DHA was related to better recognition memory. Interactions between human milk nutrients appear important in predicting infant cognition, and there may be a benefit to specific nutrient combinations.

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