ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
CANCER
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
FITNESS
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
8 Drugs Doctors Would Never Take
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
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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