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Arla Foods Ingredients and H&H Group to research impact of infant nutrition on brain development with APC Microbiome Ireland

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2 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Baby boy drinking milk in the morning on blue blanket

Dairy ingredients producer Arla Foods Ingredients and global nutrition and wellness company Health and Happiness Group (H&H Group) have teamed up with research institute APC Microbiome Ireland to research how infant nutrition affects brain development in early childhood.

The one-year project will be led by Drs Siobhain O’Mahony and Harriet Schellekens from APC’s Brain-Gut-Microbiota research programme. It plans to investigate whether dietary shifts can lower the impact of stress on young children’s brains, as well as how infant nutrition affects their learning and memory.

It will also assess how nutritional milk-based ingredients can be used to reduce cognitive impairment caused by stress in infants.

Dr Siobhain O’Mahony of APC commented on the news in a statement: “Targeting the microbiome to support brain health is an emerging concept in neuroscience. This research aims to understand the role of specific milk-based ingredients in the infant microbiome and reducing the negative impact of stress on early-life cognitive development.”

Both H&H Group and Arla say the project will help to support the future development of their own infant nutrition brands.

“As a leading provider of premium infant nutritional products that can support gut health, immunity and brain development, we are committed to investing in science that supports the development of innovative solutions for our consumers, and we look forward to working with APC and Arla Food Ingredients on this joint project,” said Dr Jonathan Lane, Associated Director of Research and Innovation for Health and Happiness Research.

Anne Staudt Kvistgaard, Head of Pediatric Nutrition Arla Foods Ingredients added: “This research underlines our continued commitment to investigate how dairy components can support brain and development processes during infancy, which is a critical period of rapid cognitive development. We look forward to working with Health and Happiness Group and APC on this project.”

Most of the work will take place at the APC laboratories located in University College Cork and the H&H research laboratories, also situated in Cork at the National Food Innovation Hub in Moorepark, Fermoy.

Professor Paul Ross, Director APC Microbiome Ireland concluded: “This is an exciting and important research project for APC, and the first time we have brought together two commercial partners to work together with APC on a collaborative research project that will help advance our understanding of the potential benefits of early life nutritional interventions for brain development.”

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