Brain scans will check how feeding affects the development of premature babies as part of a study at four Auckland hospitals. 

Researchers will take MRI scans of 96 pre-term babies’ brains a few days after birth and again at their due date to see how nutrition in the first days – while babies are still learning how to breastfeed – affects brain growth and development.

Led by the University of Auckland Liggins Institute’s Professor Jane Harding, and Professor Steve Miller from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, the study will run at Auckland City, North Shore, Waitakere and Middlemore hospitals.

“If we can pinpoint the feeding approach that best supports early brain development, we may significantly lower the risks of these babies experiencing learning difficulties later in life,”

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