Mother’s Milk and Microbiome Affect Babies’ Reaction to Diarrhea Disease from Rotavirus

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions: CDC image

3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions: CDC image

Sasirekha Ramani, PhD
Assistant Professor
Molecular Virology and Microbiology
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This work pertains to Rotavirus, a leading cause of diarrhea and vomiting in children under the age of 5 years. In this paper, we described our work with a rotavirus strain that almost exclusively causes neonatal infections. For many years, we have been trying to understand why this strain primarily infects newborns and why infection in some babies is associated with gastrointestinal symptoms while others are asymptomatic. A few years ago, we showed that this particular virus binds to developmentally-regulated glycans (sugars) in the gut as receptors. As the baby grows, these sugars get modified, and that potentially explains why infection with this virus is primarily restricted to neonates. However, we didn’t really have to answer to why there are differences in association with clinical presentations.

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Women Who Breast Feed Longer Likely to Have More Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Vida Maralani PhD Associate Professor Department of Sociology Cornell University

Dr. Maralani

Vida Maralani PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Cornell University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Breastfeeding is a time-intensive and culturally and emotionally charged topic in the U.S. with many different stakeholders. Women hear the strong message that they should breastfeed their infants for the first year of life, yet it is unambiguously clear that they find these guidelines hard to follow in practice. We were interested in exploring how breastfeeding duration is associated with how many children women go on to have. Our results show that women who breastfeed their first child for five months or longer are more likely to have three or more children, and less likely to have only one child, than women who breastfeed for shorter durations or not at all. Women who initiate breastfeeding did not differ in how many children they expected to have before they started their families. Rather, the number of children women actually bear differs by how long they breastfeed their first child. Women who breastfeed for shorter durations are more likely to have fewer children than they expected than to have more children than expected. In contrast, women who breastfeed longer are as likely to achieve their expectations as to exceed them, and they are nearly as likely to have more children than they expected as they are to have fewer.

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Breastfeeding Rates Increase But Racial Gaps Persist

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Erica H. Anstey PhD Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion  Immunization Services Division National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases CDC

Dr. Anstey

Dr. Erica H. Anstey PhD
Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Immunization Services Division
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants are breastfed exclusively for about the first 6 months and that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. Although breastfeeding initiation and duration rates have increased overall in the United States, breastfeeding rates vary by geographic location, socioeconomic, and race/ethnic groups. Breastfeeding initiation and duration have been historically and consistently lower among black infants compared with white and Hispanic infants.

There are many factors that influence a woman’s decision to start and continue breastfeeding. These include knowledge about breastfeeding, cultural and social norms, family and social support, and work and childcare environments. Some barriers to breastfeeding are disproportionately experienced by black women, including earlier return to work, inadequate receipt of breastfeeding information from providers, and lack of access to professional breastfeeding support.

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Breastfeeding May Lower Risk of Maternal Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Erica Gunderson

Dr. Gunderson

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Erica P. Gunderson, PhD, MPH, MS, RD

Senior Research Scientist, Division of Research, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Conditions Section
Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Oakland, CA 94612

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Gunderson: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a disorder of glucose tolerance affecting 5-9 percent of all U.S. pregnancies (approximately 250,000 annually), with a 7-fold higher risk of progression to type 2 diabetes. Strategies during the postpartum period for prevention of diabetes focus on modification of lifestyle behaviors, including dietary intake and physical activity to promote weight loss.

Lactation is a modifiable postpartum behavior that improves glucose and lipid metabolism, and increases insulin sensitivity, with favorable metabolic effects that persist post-weaning. Despite these metabolic benefits, evidence that lactation prevents type 2 diabetes remains inconclusive, particularly among women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Among women with GDM, evidence that lactation prevents diabetes is based on only two studies with conflicting findings.

The Study of Women, Infant Feeding and Type 2 Diabetes after GDM Pregnancy, also known as the SWIFT Study, is the first to measure breastfeeding on a monthly basis during the first year after delivery and the first to enroll a statistically significant number of women with gestational diabetes, and to evaluate social, behavioral and prenatal risk factors that influence development of type 2 diabetes, as well as breastfeeding initiation and success.

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Breastfeeding May Reduce Multiple Sclerosis Relapses

PD Dr. Kerstin Hellwig Neurologische Abteilung Universitätsklinikum St. Josef Hospital BochumMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
PD Dr. Kerstin Hellwig
Neurologische Abteilung Universitätsklinikum
St. Josef Hospital
Bochum

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Hellwig: The relapse risk is elevated in women with Multiple Sclerosis after delivery. We found that women with Multiple Sclerosis who breastfed exclusively had a significant lower relapse risk, than women who did not breastfed at all or breastfed some
but not exclusively. After the introduction of supplemental feedings,
the relase risk was similar between both groups.

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Exclusive Breastfeeding Does Not Reduce Allergies by Age 7

Professor of Pediatrics Hans Bisgaard, MD, DMSc Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Prof. Bisgaard

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor of Pediatrics Hans Bisgaard, MD, DMSc
Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood
Herlev and Gentofte Hospital,
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Bisgaard: Extended breast-feeding is recommended for
newborn children at risk of allergy-associated diseases, but the
evidence of a protective effect on sensitization and these diseases
remains elusive.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Bisgaard: Exclusive breastfeeding does not affect
sensitization in early childhood or associated diseases at 7 years
of age in at-risk children.

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NIH Study Examines Links Between Breastfeeding Duration and Childhood Obesity

Yeyi Zhu, PhD IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIHMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yeyi Zhu, PhD

IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow
Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development,
NIH

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Zhu: Currently in the US, nearly two thirds of reproductive-aged women are overweight or obese. Moreover, the amount of weight gained during pregnancy can have immediate and long-lasting impacts on health of a woman and her infant. Previous evidence implicates that excessive gestational weight gain above the Institute of Medicine guidelines is related to high birthweight (>4000 g), a marker of intrauterine over-nutrition which may impose a greater risk of offspring’s obesity and metabolic diseases in later life.

Given that more than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese in the US, it is of great public health significance to improve our understanding of determinants and mediators of childhood obesity. The length of breast feeding and age at introduction of solid foods are infant feeding practices that are potentially modifiable in early life. We therefore examined whether birthweight and infant feeding practices, specifically length of breast feeding, mediate the relationship between maternal gestational weight gain and childhood growth in the National Children’s Study Formative Research in Anthropometry, a cross-sectional multi-ethnic study of 1387 mothers and their children aged 0-5.9 years in the US (2011-2012).

We illustrated that the intergenerational relationship between maternal gestational weight gain and early childhood growth (i.e., z scores for weight-for-age, weight-for-height, and body mass index-for-age) largely acts through birthweight rather than directly on childhood growth. Further, given the negative association of breastfeeding duration with childhood anthropometrics, longer length of breastfeeding suppressed the positive associations of gestational weight gain and birthweight with childhood growth. In addition, analysis by ethnicity revealed that these associations were only significant in non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black participants as opposed to Hispanics and other ethnicities.

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Should Women on Seizure Medications Breastfeed Their Babies?

Kimford J. Meador, MD Professor Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences Stanford Comprehensive Epilepsy Center Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5235.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kimford J. Meador, MD
Professor
Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences
Stanford Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, CA 94305-5235.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Meador: Breastfeeding while taking antiepileptic drugs does not appear to pose a risk to the child’s development, and in fact the cognitive outcomes were better for those children who were breastfed vs. those were not.
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Type 1 Diabetes Introducing Solid Food While Breast Feeding May Reduce Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Jill M. Norris, MPH, PhD
Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Aurora

MedicalResearch.com: What were the most significant findings? How do they relate to what was already known about this subject?

Dr. Norris: One of the most intriguing findings is that if mothers are still breast-feeding when they introduce gluten-containing foods to their baby, they may reduce the risk for T1D.  This is similar to a finding from a Swedish study that found that breast-feeding while introducing gluten-containing foods may reduce the risk for celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that has several similarities with T1D.

In children at increased genetic risk for T1D, our data suggest that parents should wait to introduce any solid foods until after the 4 month birthday.  And when the baby is ready, solid foods should be introduced by the 6 months birthday or soon thereafter, preferably while the mother is still breast-feeding the baby, which may reduce the risk of T1D.
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Breast Feeding & Breast Cancer in African-American women

Investigators from the Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center have reported findings that may shed light on why African American women have a disproportionately higher risk of developing more aggressive and difficult-to-treat breast cancers, specifically estrogen and progesterone receptor negative (ER-/PR-) cancers.

The study, which appears online in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that high parity (giving birth to two or more children) was associated with an increased risk of ER-/PR- cancer, but only among women who had not breastfed.

The findings were based on the ongoing Black Women’s Health Study, which has followed 59,000 African American women by biennial questionnaire since 1995.

In 14 years of follow-up, 318 women developed breast cancers negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER-/PR-), while 457 developed breast cancers with estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER+/PR+). Giving birth to two or more children was associated with a 50 percent increase in the incidence of ER-/PR- breast cancer, but the association was not present among women who had breastfed.

According to the researchers, the results for ER+/PR+ breast cancer, which is more common among white women, were strikingly different. High parity was associated with a decreased risk, and breast feeding had no influence on that association.

“The higher incidence of ER-/PR- breast cancer in African American women may be explained in part by their higher parity and lower prevalence of breastfeeding relative to white women,” explained lead author Julie Palmer, ScD, MPH, a senior epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Center and a professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health.

“Our results, taken together with recent results from studies of triple negative and basal-like breast cancer, suggest that breastfeeding can reduce risk of developing the aggressive, difficult-to-treat breast cancers that disproportionately affect African American women,” she said.

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This study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.