Re: [xmca] talking about nature nurture interactions on IQ...

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Tue Nov 06 2007 - 18:49:46 PST

A good control study for these findings would be one that evaluated babies whose mothers had used a pump to extract the milk but who had in fact never breast fed their children but only given them the milk in bottles, preferably if the children had been fed with that milk by someone other than the mother herself.

David Preiss <> wrote:
  Study Reveals Link between Breastfeeding And Child IQ
The Independent - London - November 06, 2007

Babies who are breastfed stand a better chance of becoming
intelligent children if they also inherit a version of a gene that is
involved in the growth of the brain, researchers have found.

Two large studies of breastfed children confirm that mother's milk
does indeed raise IQ in later life - if combined with a gene involved
in the metabolism of fatty acids.

Scientists believe the discovery blows a hole in the "nature versus
nurture" debate, as it shows that there is a hitherto unconfirmed
interaction between our environment and the genes involved in brain

Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi, the husband-and-wife team who
carried out the work at King's College London, found that the IQ
advantage for breastfed children was only true if they had inherited
the "C" version of a gene known as FADS2, which handles fatty acids
in the diet. Breast milk is known to be rich in fatty acids, and
these compounds are also thought to be important in certain aspects
of brain development, such as the growth of nerve endings and the
production of neurotransmitters - chemical messengers in the brain.

It was already accepted that breastfeeding increases a child's IQ
significantly, but some critics of earlier research pointed out that
in the West this may be because higher social classes tend both to
breastfeed their children and spend more money on their education
than lower social classes. The latest study, published in the journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, claims to have
eliminated these potentially confounding social factors.

"Our findings support the idea that the nutritional content of breast
milk accounts for the differences seen in human IQ. But it's not a
simple connection: it depends to some extent on the genetic make-up
of each infant," Professor Moffitt said. "The argument about
intelligence has been about nature versus nurture for at least a
century. We're finding that nature and nurture work together."

About 90 per cent of the population have the "C" version of the FADS2
gene, so most babies could potentially benefit from breastfeeding in
terms of a raised IQ.

A study has also shown that breastfed babies have a lower risk of
developing heart disease. Scientists told the American Heart
Association that breastfeeding is linked with lower weight and higher
"good" cholesterol levels in adulthood.

(C) 2007 The Independent - London. via ProQuest Information and
Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

David Preiss, Ph.D.
Subdirector de Extensión y Comunicaciones
Escuela de Psicología
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Av Vicuña Mackenna 4860
Macul, Santiago

Fono: 3544605
Fax: 3544844
web personal:
web institucional:

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Received on Tue Nov 6 18:51 PST 2007

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