A new study finds no adverse cognitive effects on 6-year-old children who were exposed to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in the womb and then breast-fed while their moms continued this therapy.
In fact, these school-aged children scored higher on IQ tests than their non–breast-fed counterparts and had enhanced verbal abilities, even after adjustment for other factors related to child cognitive outcomes, such as maternal IQ.
The study extends previous IQ outcomes in the same children when they were 3 years old and adds to other evidence supporting a causal relationship of breast-feeding with improved cognitive abilities. “Our study does not provide final answers, but we recommend breast-feeding to mothers with epilepsy, informing them of the strength of evidence for risks and benefits,” the authors, led by Kimford J. Meador, MD, Department of Neurology and Neurological Science, Stanford University, California, conclude. The report, from the Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (NEAD) study, was published online June 16 in JAMA Pediatrics.