The first 1000 days of life represent a critical window of opportunity to optimize neurodevelopment, the failure of which can have long-term implications for both mental health and quality of life. There is increasing evidence of a bidirectional cross-talk between the microbiota, the gut, and the brain, known as the microbiome–gut–brain axis (MGBA). Nutrition in early life contributes to neurodevelopment directly and indirectly through the MGBA. Human milk contains nutrients and bioactive components that support brain development and establishment of a bifidobacteria-predominant microbiota and some studies report greater neurocognitive outcomes among breastfed compared to formula-fed infants. Most studies of the MGBA used rodents, however, the young pig has characteristics that make it a superior model for the human. Herein, we summarize the associations between the MGBA and neurocognitive development in human infants and describe the evidence for modulation of neurocognitive development by nutrients and milk bioactives in the young pig model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Gut-Brain Axis
Subtitle of host publicationDietary, Probiotic, and Prebiotic Interventions on the Microbiota
EditorsNiall Hyland, Catherine Stanton
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9780323999717
ISBN (Print)9780323983020
StatePublished - 2024


  • Behavior
  • Brain
  • Cognition
  • Human milk
  • Human milk oligosaccharides
  • Infant
  • Metagenome
  • Microbiome
  • Milk fat globule membrane
  • Young pig

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience


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