Aniko Korosi receives grant to study effect of early nutrition on brain development
Dr Aniko Korosi (SILS) received the NWO Food & Cognition grant (over €660.000,-) in collaboration with Danone research to study the effects of early nutrition on brain development. The 4-year project will be performed in tight collaboration with Danone Nutricia, pediatricians from the AMC, Biocrates (a small Austrian company expert in mass spectrometry) and experts in epigenetics from the RUG.
Stress experienced early in life impairs cognition for life. Given the high nutritional demand of the brain during this developmental period, Korosi and colleagues will investigate the novel concept that early nutrition may help to withstand later functional deficits. The researchers will specifically focus on the effects of early life stress on the levels of essential fatty acids and of essential methyl donors (folic acid, choline, betaine, vitamin B6/B12) in the mother’s milk and in her offspring. These nutrients are of critical importance for neuronal plasticity and epigenetic machinery.
The purpose of this study is to achieve optimal nutrition for both breastfeeding mothers and for (newborn) babies, toddlers and young children, so that support can be offered to an optimal development and function of the brain in vulnerable situations. Increasing our understanding of the role of early nutrition in the programming of brain by early-life stress, might help develop targeted nutritional intervention.