Vol. 6, No. 2, 2000 Page 7

A formula for higher IQ?

A new study adds to growing evidence that IQ scores-which are strongly inversely correlated with criminality-are not static, but instead can often be raised through biological interventions such as removing toxins or improving diets (see related article, Crime Times, 2000, Vol. 6, No. 2, Page 3).

Eileen Birch and colleagues studied 56 newborn infants, dividing the babies into three groups. One group received standard infant formula, while the second received a formula enriched with the essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and a third gr roup received a formula enriched with both DHA and the essential fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA). At the end of the four-month study, all three groups were put on standard formula.

When the babies were 18 months old, researchers tested them using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, a measure of physical and mental development. Babies who had received the formula containing both DHA and AA during their first four months had an a average IQ of 105.6, almost the same as the average of 106 in breast-fed babies. Infants receiving the formula with only DHA scored an average of 102, while those drinking standard infant formula scored 98-slightly below the national average of 100.

Birch et al.s study is the latest of several studies reporting IQ gains in infants fed formulas enriched with essential fatty acids, nutrients that are currently included in infant formulas in 60 countries but not in the United States. In one study (see related article, Crime Times, 1999, Vol. 5, No. 1, Page 3), Alan Lucas and colleagues reported that prematurely-born children who were fed fatty-acid-enriched formulas as newborns had verbal IQ scores an average of 12 points higher than comparable children who received standard formula as infants, when the childr ren were tested at age eight. In a related study (see related article, Crime Times, 1999, Vol. 5, No. 1, Page 3), P. Willatts et al. found that full-term babies receiving enriched formula for four months performed better on a problem-solving test at 10 months of age than did other 10-month-olds who had received standard formula.


A randomized controlled trial of early dietary supply of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and mental development in term infants, E. Birch, S. Garfield, D. Hoffman, R. Uauy, and D. Birch, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, Vol. 42, > March 2000, pp. 174-181. Address: Eileen Birch, Retina Foundation of the Southwest, 9900 North Central Expressway, Suite 400, Dallas, TX 75231.

Related Article: [2002, Vol. 8] [2003, Vol. 1]

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