ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
CAREGIVING
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
DIET, NUTRITION
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Eating Free Range
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
FDA Faulted for Stance on Chemical in Plastics
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
EYE CARE, VISION
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
Internet Program Helps Problem Drinkers
Hand-Washing Habits Still Need Improvement: Survey Says
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Countdown to Hair Loss
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Add your Article

Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Add yet another potential benefit to breast-feeding: Fewer behavioral problems in young children.

Parents of youngsters who were breast-fed as infants were less likely to report that their child had a behavior problem or psychiatric illness during the first five years of life, a new study found.

And the likelihood of mental health issues decreased in proportion to the duration of breast-feeding, meaning that a child who had been breast-fed for a year was less likely to have behavior problems than a child who had been breast-fed for just two months.

"This is an early finding, but it suggests that breast-feeding during infancy could have an effect on behavior during childhood," said the study's lead author, Dr. Katherine Hobbs Knutson, a resident in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

She was to present the findings Wednesday at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting, in San Diego.

Previous research has shown that breast milk offers numerous benefits for babies and that breast-feeding can benefit both mother and infant. Babies who are breast-fed are less likely to suffer from ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, wheezing, and bacterial and viral illnesses, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Research has also linked breast-feeding with a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and certain cancers, according to the AAP.

For mothers, breast-feeding helps the uterus quickly return to its pre-pregnancy shape and helps burn additional calories, which can help get rid of extra pregnancy weight, the AAP reports. Additionally, breast-feeding is believed to help nurture the mother-child bond.

The new study reviewed more than 100,000 interviews of parents and guardians of children between the ages of 10 months and 18 years who participated in the National Survey of Children's Health. Parents were asked about breast-feeding and about their child's behavior and mental health.

Examples of questions included: Are you currently concerned a lot, a little or not at all about how your child behaves? How he/she is learning pre-school or school skills? Has a doctor or health professional ever told you that your child has behavioral or conduct problems?

Parents of children who were breast-fed were 15 percent less likely to be concerned about their child's behavior, compared to formula-fed infants. And the breast-fed children were 37 percent less likely to have a medically diagnosed behavioral or conduct problem, according to the study.

And, Knutson said, the effect of breast-feeding appeared to be cumulative, with those who were breast-fed for a longer duration even less likely to have behavior problems.

She also said the study found "a correlation between breast-feeding and cognitive development."

"These findings are certainly intriguing," said Dr. Debra Bogen, a pediatrician in the division of general academic pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The study adds to the "overwhelming evidence that women should, if they can, offer breast milk to their babies," she added.

Both Bogen and Knutson said the nutritional composition of breast milk might have an effect on the way a baby's brain develops, and that better nutrition could explain the behavioral differences. But both experts felt it was too soon to know for sure the exact cause of the potentially protective effect.

More information

For more on the benefits of breast-feeding, visit the National Women's Health Information Center.



SOURCES: Katherine Hobbs Knutson, M.D., resident, department of psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Debra Bogen, M.D., pediatrician, division of general academic pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Oct. 29, 2008, presentation, American Public Health Association annual meeting, San Diego

Last Updated: Oct. 29, 2008

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