FORMULA milk is deficient in a type of fatty acid, thought to contribute to brain development, that is present in breast milk, researchers from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, report. Changing the composition of infant formula could improve subsequent brain function in children, they suggest in The Lancet.

Research indicates that infants fed breast milk have significantly higher IQs at seven or eight years than those who receive no maternal milk. The Glasgow researchers say their study shows breast-fed babies to have significantly more docasahexaenoic acid (DHA) in their brains than formula-fed infants. Supplementing formula milk with DHA could 'prove beneficial to subsequent neurodevelopment', they suggest.