Study Type


Study Purpose

Breast milk, the recommended choice for infant nutrition, provides key nutrients, which support cognitive benefits. The goal of the CONNECT research study is to explore how early life nutrition and specific nutrients impact brain and cognitive development in the first 2 years of a baby’s life.

Certain nutrients like folate, iron, DHA and vitamin B12 play a role in myelin development in the brain. Myelin is the protective covering around the nerve fibers, which help brain cells to communicate. Researchers want to explore how specific nutrients important for myelin development, impact brain and cognitive development.

About the Study

If you participate in the study, you will be asked to provide your infant with 1 of 2 infant formulas containing different levels of specific nutrients until your infant reaches 1 year old. Both infant formulas meet Codex nutritional requirements for infants. The Codex Alimentarius International Food Standards is a program established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) related to foods, food production and food safety.

The study involves taking pictures of your infant’s brain while asleep (either napping or in the evening and without using medicines to help your infant sleep), using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Your infant’s feeding and sleeping behaviors as well as social-emotional and cognitive development will be assessed with questionnaires and behavioral tasks.

Study Design

Number of Visits:

  • Up to 9 visits to the Pennington Biomedical Clinic over a period of about 2 years

Procedures for mothers 

  • Questionnaires

Procedures for infants:

  • Length, weight, and head circumference measurements
  • PEA POD Scans (to measure body fat)
  • MRI Scans (to image the brain and measure its function)
  • Questionnaires and behavior tests (to evaluate your baby’s feeding and sleeping behaviors, and social and emotional development)
  • Food records
  • Activity tracking (Fitbit)

Study Qualifications

To qualify for this research study, mothers should:

  • Be female 18 years of age or older
  • Be currently pregnant or have given birth to a healthy, living infant who is less than 5 weeks old
  • Have had a BMI between 19 kg/m2 and 40 kg/m2 prior to your current or most recent pregnancy calculate your BMI

To qualify for this research study, infants should:

  • Be a healthy infant ages 2 – 5 weeks old
  • Be born full term (greater than or equal to 37 weeks)
  • Be formula fed most of the time

Study Duration

Participation in this research study will last approximately 2 years.


Participants will receive up to $2,000 upon completion of the study. Participants will also receive infant formula for a full year at no cost.

Study Contact

Moms: If you are interested in seeing if you may qualify for this research study, click here to screen online, call 225-326-0546 or email

If you think you may be eligible, please click the button below to screen online.


Please do not fill out this questionnaire for anyone other than yourself unless you are their legal guardian.
If you know someone who may be interested please direct them to the site or have them call us directly at 225-763-3000.


English Calculation
Enter Your Weight: 
Enter Your Height: 
 ft.  in.
Your BMI: