The association between breast milk exposure and cortical maturation in preterm infants


  • The brain morphology of preterm neonatal infants that are exposed to high levels of breast milk (BM) closely resemble that of term-born infants, suggesting that high BM exposure can optimize cortical development.

Why this matters

  • Preterm infants exposed to high levels of BM in their early weeks of life have improved neurocognitive outcomes. However, the underlying neural substrates are poorly understood.

  • Understanding the links between BM and cortical development can help improve neurocognitive outcomes for preterm infants, possibly reducing the risk of neurocognitive impairment and psychiatric disease in later life.