It's just what new mothers need, isn't it? A bit more controversy. Another study over which to obsess. So, mothers-to-be and new mothers, be forewarned. The information that follows may be hazardous to the few precious hours of sleep you now manage to steal each night. Look away while you have the chance...
Yes, it's the ongoing debate over bottle and breast-feeding. And, this one strikes at the heart. Or, maybe it's the brain. A recent study indicates that breastfed infants have higher IQs than bottle-fed infants - by about 6 or 7 points on average.
Let the battle begin.
The researchers, from Kings College London, studied 3,200 children in Britain and New Zealand. They identified a specific gene, known as FADS2, which appears to be responsible for the boost in intelligence among breastfed infants.
FADS2 is found in about 90% of the population. It facilitates the processing of omega 3 fatty acids, turning them into nutrients for the brain. The effect on intelligence was consistent, regardless of the mother's IQ or social class.
Previous studies have shown that breastfed infants have fewer infections, respiratory illnesses, and diarrhea.
The researchers acknowledge the need to better understand the role of FADS2, and to continue research into other genes that also influence intelligence.
So, what's a mother to do? Ah, that would be to love your kids and, of course, get some sleep...