Food and Human Brain Development

  • John Dobbing


The question of whether nutrition affects the full achievement of human intellect is quite old, but it is only in the last decade that it has begun to be seriously studied. In the early part of this century, when starvation was nearer to the North American and European scientist in his own daily life, there were many excellent animal studies by well-known nutritionists to determine whether starvation affected the brain; the clear conclusion emerged that it did not. Animals were occasionally found which had starved to death, and experimental rats were kept on starvation diets; although it was easy to see how nearly all the organs and tissues of the body were profoundly affected, the most dramatic exception was the brain. Thus was born the doctrine of “brain sparing,” and by about 1925 most research in this area stopped. There seemed little professional future in it.


Growth Restriction Fetal Growth Growth Spurt Brain Growth Vulnerable Period 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Dobbing
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child HealthUniversity of ManchesterManchesterEngland

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