ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
CANCER
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
The Raw Food Diet
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
FITNESS
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
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For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best

Reports on the benefits of breast-feeding continue to accumulate as researchers evaluate the breast-over-bottle option.

It's been shown to help a baby's later performance in school, to reduce the odds of problem behavior and to help kids cope with stress. And moms stand to benefit later on as well, studies show.

But what is it about breast-feeding that's so helpful and healthy?

For starters, breast milk is loaded with health-promoting nutrients. "It's not just one mechanism," said Melinda Johnson, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, a lecturer in nutrition at Arizona State University and a dietitian in private practice in nearby Chandler, Ariz.

"The nutrition [provided by breast-feeding] is perfect for the growing child," Johnson said. Take, for example, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid. "DHA is critical for brain development and also for nervous system development," Johnson said.

The presence of DHA in breast milk, she said, might explain the finding that breast-fed kids do better academically.

Breast milk also contains the amino acid taurine, considered important for neurological development, said Dr. Ruth Lawrence, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics' section on breast-feeding and is a professor of pediatrics and obstetrics-gynecology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York.

"Newborns and preemies cannot manufacture taurine," Lawrence said, although adults do. "Taurine is one of the amino acids needed for brain growth. The brain will double in size in the first year of life." That makes it critical to have nutrients that help brain growth.

"We in the breast-feeding field have been focusing on brain growth [and its importance] for a number of years," she said. Those who manufacture formula, Lawrence said, focus more on how much weight babies can gain with their product.

Breast milk also has been shown to jump-start a baby's immune system, and researchers think that's due at least in part to a protein found in breast milk. Called soluble CD14, it helps develop beta cells, a type of immune cell that helps produce antibodies, which are needed to protect against illnesses.

Breast milk also contains live and active organisms that can never be duplicated in formula, Johnson said. In one of the newer areas of research, experts have found that breast-fed babies' guts have different bacteria than those of formula-fed babies, and that the breast-fed babies' gut bacteria appears to be healthier, she said.

Other research has found that the intestinal bacteria present early in life play a role in whether a person will suffer from allergies, have an overactive immune system or tend to put on excess weight later in life, Johnson said.

Breast-feeding also has emotional and bonding benefits, according to Lawrence and Johnson, although they say it's harder to explain the "why" and "how" of those.

Though a mother who bottle-feeds also holds her baby, the child has actual physical attachment while breast-feeding. "Certain hormones, feel-good hormones, are released when a woman is breast-feeding," Johnson said, citing oxytocin and prolactin as examples. "The theory is, that's how the moms bond."

DHA has also been linked to mood, she said, and "if you have the right amount of DHA, you may be heading off mood disorders."

SOURCES: Ruth Lawrence, M.D., professor, pediatrics and obstetrics-gynecology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, N.Y.; Melinda Johnson, R.D., lecturer, nutrition, Arizona State University, Mesa, Ariz.; Jan. 16, 2001, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; June 2009, Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology; U.S. National Women's Health Information Center (www.womenshealth.gov) Published on: January 03, 2010