Compound in Mom Key to Infant Development

DHA an essential fatty acid that plays role in cognition, attention span, study says

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

En Español

FRIDAY, July 16, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A nutritional compound present in the bodies of pregnant women plays a crucial role in developing cognitive skills and attention spans in infants, says a University of Kansas study.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an essential fatty acid that helps in the development of infants, particularly in the eyes and the brain.

Researchers found mothers with higher blood levels of DHA gave birth to infants who displayed more mature forms of attention. The infants were less distractible during play and tended to be more engaged over time with toys.

The findings appear in the current issue of Child Development.

DHA is found naturally in breast milk and has recently been added to some commercial infant formulas. Other research indicates postnatal DHA improves vision and some cognitive functions in infants and toddlers.

More information

The United States Department of Agriculture has more about nutrition during pregnancy.

SOURCES: Society for Research in Child Development, news release, July 16, 2004


Last Updated: