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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Functional Changes in Child Brain Development As a Result of Early Diet

Location: Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center

Project Number: 6251-51000-009-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 23, 2014
End Date: May 30, 2014

Objective:
Determine the effects of maternal diet and/or infant diets on brain morphology and other functional central nervous system outcomes using neurophysiology, psychological testing, and cognitive development measures in children (from infancy through puberty). The overall goals of this study are to determine the effects of: 1) infant formulas vs. breast feeding on brain development and function; 2) dietary factors and diet consumption during very early development on important outcome variables, such as learning, cognitive development, and school performance in children; 3) early body composition on neurocognitive function and brain morphology in children; and 4) physical activity on brain function and development in children.

Approach:
Children (infants, toddlers, and school-aged youths) will be studied to evaluate the effects of infant diet (specifically, breast-milk and a variety of infant formulas) on morphological, neurophysiological, behavioral, and cognitive development in infants and children. Nutritional status assessments, anthropometric measurements, body composition, energy metabolism, physical activity fitness, urine and blood analysis, and measures of brain structure (MRI imaging), psychological and behavioral status (standardized testing), neuropsychological, and cognitive measures will be obtained and analyzed. The effects of diet composition, meal patterns, meal frequency, physical activity, and body composition on brain function, behavioral dynamics, learning, and school performance will be assessed in normal weight and overweight/obese school children using validated survey instruments and state-of-the-art research equipment.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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