Nutrition during the first years of life has a significant impact on brain development. This study characterized differences in brain maturation from birth to 6 months of life in infant macaques fed formulas differing in content of lutein, β-carotene, and other carotenoids using Magnetic Resonance Imaging to measure functional connectivity. We observed differences in functional connectivity based on the interaction of diet, age and brain networks. Post hoc analysis revealed significant diet-specific differences between insular-opercular and somatomotor networks at 2 months of age, dorsal attention and somatomotor at 4 months of age, and within somatomotor and between somatomotor-visual and auditory-dorsal attention networks at 6 months of age. Overall, we found a larger divergence in connectivity from the breastfeeding group in infant macaques fed formula containing no supplemental carotenoids in comparison to those fed formula supplemented with carotenoids. These findings suggest that carotenoid formula supplementation influences functional brain development.
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