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Article

Breastfeeding Duration Is Associated with Regional, but Not Global, Differences in White Matter Tracts

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Center for Advanced Imaging, Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
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Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
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Department of Neuroscience, Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
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Department of Neuroscience, Sanders-Brown Center for Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
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Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
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Department of Neurology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
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Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10010019
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 9 December 2019 / Accepted: 23 December 2019 / Published: 30 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Brain Dynamics: Latest Advances and Prospects)
Extended breastfeeding through infancy confers benefits on neurocognitive performance and intelligence tests, though few have examined the biological basis of these effects. To investigate correlations with breastfeeding, we examined the major white matter tracts in 4–8 year-old children using diffusion tensor imaging and volumetric measurements of the corpus callosum. We found a significant correlation between the duration of infant breastfeeding and fractional anisotropy scores in left-lateralized white matter tracts, including the left superior longitudinal fasciculus and left angular bundle, which is indicative of greater intrahemispheric connectivity. However, in contrast to expectations from earlier studies, no correlations were observed with corpus callosum size, and thus no correlations were observed when using such measures of global interhemispheric white matter connectivity development. These findings suggest a complex but significant positive association between breastfeeding duration and white matter connectivity, including in pathways known to be functionally relevant for reading and language development. View Full-Text
Keywords: breastfeeding; cingulum angular bundle; corpus callosum; diffusion tensor imaging; fractional anisotropy; infant feeding methods; magnetic resonance imaging; pediatrics; superior longitudinal fasciculus; white matter breastfeeding; cingulum angular bundle; corpus callosum; diffusion tensor imaging; fractional anisotropy; infant feeding methods; magnetic resonance imaging; pediatrics; superior longitudinal fasciculus; white matter
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bauer, C.E.; Lewis, J.W.; Brefczynski-Lewis, J.; Frum, C.; Schade, M.M.; Haut, M.W.; Montgomery-Downs, H.E. Breastfeeding Duration Is Associated with Regional, but Not Global, Differences in White Matter Tracts. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 19. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10010019

AMA Style

Bauer CE, Lewis JW, Brefczynski-Lewis J, Frum C, Schade MM, Haut MW, Montgomery-Downs HE. Breastfeeding Duration Is Associated with Regional, but Not Global, Differences in White Matter Tracts. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10(1):19. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10010019

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bauer, Christopher E., James W. Lewis, Julie Brefczynski-Lewis, Chris Frum, Margeaux M. Schade, Marc W. Haut, and Hawley E. Montgomery-Downs. 2020. "Breastfeeding Duration Is Associated with Regional, but Not Global, Differences in White Matter Tracts" Brain Sciences 10, no. 1: 19. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10010019

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