Document Detail

The timing and duration of a sensitive period in human flavor learning: a randomized trial.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21310829     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: By using the response to protein hydrolysate formula (PHF) as a model system, we discovered the existence of a sensitive period, before 4 mo, when exposure determines the hedonic tone to flavors.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to characterize the timing and duration of this sensitive period.
DESIGN: Healthy infants, whose parents had chosen formula feeding, were randomly assigned into 1 of 6 groups at age 0.5 mo: 2 control groups, one fed cow milk-based formula (CMF) and the other fed PHF for 7 mo; 2 groups fed PHF for either 1 or 3 mo beginning at 1.5 mo and CMF otherwise; and 2 groups fed PHF for 1 mo beginning at either 2.5 or 3.5 mo and CMF otherwise. Brief access taste tests were conducted monthly, and complete "meals" of both formulas occurred at the end of the study.
RESULTS: Three months of PHF exposure led to acceptance similar to that at 1 mo of exposure. Although these infants were more accepting than were infants with no exposure, they were less accepting than were infants with 7 mo of exposure, which suggests a dosing effect. The time when flavor experiences began was also significant. Among infants exposed to PHF for 1 mo, those who were first fed PHF at 3.5 mo rejected PHF relative to CMF more than did infants exposed at younger ages.
CONCLUSION: The general principles observed are likely of broader significance, indicating a fundamental feature of mammalian development and reflecting the importance of familiarizing infants with flavors that their mothers consume and transmit to breast milk. This trial was registered at as NCT00994747.
Julie A Mennella; Laura D Lukasewycz; Sara M Castor; Gary K Beauchamp
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural     Date:  2011-02-10
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of clinical nutrition     Volume:  93     ISSN:  1938-3207     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Clin. Nutr.     Publication Date:  2011 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-04-21     Completed Date:  2011-07-15     Revised Date:  2013-06-30    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376027     Medline TA:  Am J Clin Nutr     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1019-24     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Child Development*
Food Preferences / physiology*
Infant Behavior
Infant Formula / administration & dosage
Infant, Newborn
Protein Hydrolysates / administration & dosage
Taste Perception / physiology*
Time Factors
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Protein Hydrolysates
Comment In:
Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 May;93(5):909-10   [PMID:  21471281 ]

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