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Bovine lactoferrin, milk fat globule membrane add-ons to infant formula improves neurodevelopment

30 Dec 2019

Adding bovine milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) and bovine lactoferrin into infant formula milk may help accelerate neurodevelopment, a recent study has found.

Researchers randomly assigned 451 healthy term infants to receive infant formula that was either based on cow’s milk (control; n=228) or with added MFGM and lactoferrin (n=223). The primary outcome was the between-group difference in scores in The Bayley Scales of Infant Development. Milk was given through 365 days of age.

The cognitive composite mean score of the Bayley questionnaire was significantly greater in the infants who received the MFGM-enriched formula vs controls at 365 days of age (111.0±0.9 vs 102.3±0.9; difference, 8.7 points; p<0.001). The same was true for language (122.6±0.9 vs 110.3±0.9; difference, 12.3 points; p<0.001) and motor (118.3±1.2 vs 105.7±1.2; difference, 12.6 points; p<0.001) scores.

In contrast, scores in the social-emotional or general adaptive subdomains were statistically comparable between treatment arms.

Adjusting for family income, parental education and other socioeconomic variables did not meaningfully alter the principal findings. By day 545, almost 40 percent of the sample had dropped out and were unable to undergo subsequent testing. At this follow-up, no group differences were reported between the treatment and control group in any Bayley domain.

The study intervention was also well tolerated. Adverse events of the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems―such as diarrhoea, coughs and upper respiratory tract infections―occurred rarely in the MFGM+lactoferrin group. No between-group differences were reported regarding the incidence of constipation, eczema and other skin side effects.

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Stephen Padilla, 06 Aug 2020
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