Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Breastmilk good, Iron Supplements bad?

In headlines this week we learn something that many of us already knew- breastmilk boosts intelligence, and something that we have not known: iron Supplements might harm infants who already get enough.

The breastmilk study, while not the first of its kind, claims to be "the most blatant evidence to date that prolonged and exclusive breast-feeding makes children more intelligent,". The study came out of Canada's McGill Univeristy and is the largest study ever conducted on a random sample- looking at 14,000 children over six and a half years.

The studies author notes that they can't guaruntee its the breastmilk itself, as oppose to the physical nature of breastfeeding, "As for me, I prefer to think that the physical or emotional contact between the mother and the child is what counts, because it takes more time to nurse a baby than to offer him a bottle of milk".

Meanwhile, at the University of Michigan, researchers found that extra iron for infants who don't need it might delay development. This has a huge impact on those who use formula with extra iron added. The study looked at nearly 500 infants. Those that were adversely affected by the extra iron scored 11 points lower in IQ and 12 points lower in visual-motor integration, as well as lower on spatial memory and other visual-motor measures.

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