Navigation Links
Breastfeeding may reduce Alzheimer's risk

The report, newly published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, suggests that the link may be to do with certain biological effects of breastfeeding. For example, breastfeeding restores insulin tolerance which is significantly reduced during pregnancy, and Alzheimer's is characterised by insulin resistance in the brain.

Although they used data gathered from a very small group of just 81 British women, the researchers observed a highly significant and consistent correlation between breastfeeding and Alzheimer's risk. They argue that this was so strong that any potential sampling error was unlikely.

At the same time, however, the connection was much less pronounced in women who already had a history of dementia in their family. The research team hope that the study which was intended merely as a pilot will stimulate further research looking at the relationship between female reproductive history and disease risk.

The findings may point towards new directions for fighting the global Alzheimer's epidemic especially in developing countries where cheap, preventative measures are desperately needed.

More broadly, the study opens up new lines of enquiry in understanding what makes someone susceptible to Alzheimer's in the first place. It may also act as an incentive for women to breastfeed, rather than bottle-feed something which is already known to have wider health benefits for both mother and child.

Dr Molly Fox, from the Department of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, who led the study, said: "Alzheimer's is the world's most common cognitive disorder and it already affects 35.6 million people. In the future, we expect it to spread most in low and middle-income countries. So it is vital that we develop low-cost, large-scale strategies to protect people against this devastating disease."

Previous studies have already established that breastfeeding can reduce a mother's risk of certain other diseases, and research has also shown that there may be a link between breastfeeding and a woman's general cognitive decline later in life. Until now, however, little has been done to examine the impact of breastfeeding duration on Alzheimer's risk.

Fox and her colleagues Professor Carlo Berzuini and Professor Leslie Knapp interviewed 81 British women aged between 70 and 100. These included both women with, and without, Alzheimer's. In addition, the team also spoke to relatives, spouses and carers.

Through these interviews, the researchers collected information about the women's reproductive history, their breastfeeding history, and their dementia status. They also gathered information about other factors that might account for their dementia, for example, a past stroke, or brain tumour.

Dementia status itself was measured using a standard rating scale called the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR). The researchers also developed a method for estimating the age of Alzheimer's sufferers at the onset of their disease, using the CDR as a basis and taking into account their age and existing, known patterns of Alzheimer's progression. All of this information was then compared with the participants' breastfeeding history.

Despite the small number of participants, the study revealed a number of clear links between breastfeeding and Alzheimer's. These were not affected when the researchers took into account other potential variables such as age, education history, the age when the woman first gave birth, her age at menopause, or her smoking and drinking history.

The researchers observed three main trends:

  • Women who breastfed exhibited a reduced Alzheimer's Disease risk compared with women who did not.
  • Longer breastfeeding history was significantly associated with a lower Alzheimer's Risk.
  • Women who had a higher ratio of total months pregnant during their life to total months breastfeeding had a higher Alzheimer's risk.

The trends were, however, far less pronounced for women who had a parent or sibling with dementia. In these cases, the impact of breastfeeding on Alzheimer's risk appeared to be significantly lower, compared with women whose families had no history of dementia.

The study argues that there may be a number of biological reasons for the connection between Alzheimer's and breastfeeding, all of which require further investigation.

One theory is that breastfeeding deprives the body of the hormone progesterone, compensating for high levels of progesterone which are produced during pregnancy. Progesterone is known to desensitize the brain's oestrogen receptors, and oestrogen may play a role in protecting the brain against Alzheimer's.

Another possibility is that breastfeeding increases a woman's glucose tolerance by restoring her insulin sensitivity after pregnancy. Pregnancy itself induces a natural state of insulin resistance. This is significant because Alzheimer's is characterised by a resistance to insulin in the brain (and therefore glucose intolerance) to the extent that it is even sometimes referred to as "Type 3 diabetes".

"Women who spent more time pregnant without a compensatory phase of breastfeeding therefore may have more impaired glucose tolerance, which is consistent with our observation that those women have an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease," Fox added.


Contact: Tom Kirk
University of Cambridge

Related medicine news :

1. Leading Lady Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month by Donating One Thousand Nursing Bras to Breastfeeding Moms
2. Allied Pediatrics of New York Offers Comprehensive Breastfeeding Medicine Services Online
3. The Best For Babes® Foundation and Breastfeeding Usa Challenge Americans to Back Breastfeeding Mothers
4. Comfort & Harmony™ Weighs in on Possible Lifelong Social Benefits of Breastfeeding, Makes Breastfeeding Easier with mombo™ Nursing Pillow Available at Babies “R” Us
5. Comfort & Harmony™ Weighs in on Research, Breastfed Babies Show Superior Cognitive Development, Breastfeeding Easier with mombo™ Nursing Pillow Available at Babies “R" Us
6. Comfort & Harmony™ Welcomes Spring Babies, Shares Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms and Newborns, Makes Breastfeeding Easier with mombo™ Nursing Pillow at Babies “R” Us
7. Praeclarus Press Launches the One Every 21 Seconds Campaign to Increase Awareness on the Role of Breastfeeding in Reducing Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality
8. Breastfeeding tips women share intrigue doctors
9. Women & Infants to participate in national effort to increase breastfeeding rates
10. Study: Taxing sugary beverages not a clear cut strategy to reduce obesity
11. How to Reduce Costs While Increasing Volumes in Your Hospital Surgery Service
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/10/2015)... ... October 10, 2015 , ... Isabel Healthcare will participate in the Cerner Health ... the release of the Institute of Medicine’s latest report “Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare”, Isabel ... that assist healthcare providers and consumers to potentially reduce the chance of error. The ...
(Date:10/10/2015)... ... October 10, 2015 , ... In the inaugural people’s choice contest, entitled ... To Work in Jacksonville, amongst medium-sized companies with 25 – 99 employees. The announcement ... with a celebratory gala on October 1st. , Many of the features of ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... California (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2015 , ... ... Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education J. Michael ... of the Year Award. Finley was selected for his impact on graduate medical ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2015 , ... ... awareness for breast cancer victims, survivors, and the ongoing effort to find a cure. ... patients another outlet for helping women in need. With their Bra Collection Campaign, Beverly ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... ... October 09, 2015 , ... A new health tool that helps identify if ... online ( ) – just in time for the cold and flu season, ... However, for many in the U.S., the real start of cold/flu season is the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
... ... medical journal Osteoporosis International found that women taking AdvaCAL® calcium had the highest bone ... 32 studies involved 3,169 postmenopausal women, 79 skeletal measures and 7 different types of ... ...
... ... Dermatologist settled in Dubai, received the very prestigious ,HIND RATTAN AWARD, this ... Rattan was presented at a ceremony in connection with the yearly International ... Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Government of India. Dr. Mehta was awarded ...
... ... IL based management consulting and technology firm, today announced it will merge ... Gold Certified Partner, effective January 1, 2010. Logan Consulting is ... America, Europe and Asia since 1992. Under the new structure, ...
... , ... Omnetics Connector Corporation, the leading manufacturer of miniature high-rel connectors, is utilizing their ... , ... MN (Vocus) January 29, 2010 -- Omnetics Connector Corporation, the leading manufacturer of ...
... ... Vemma Nutrition Company launches Vemma ... or other sports drinks, Vemma THIRST goes beyond hydration by ... minerals, while replenishing the body with necessary electrolytes, specialized carbohydrates ...
... , , Majority of Mississippi ... Jan. 28 The following is a statement by ... Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA): , "Today, the Mississippi ... that, if it becomes law, will greatly limit how cold and ...
Cached Medicine News:
(Date:10/9/2015)... , Schweiz, October 9, 2015 Der ... an Dr.   Yutaka Kondo und Dr.   Junko ... Award   2015 " geht an Dr.   ... --> Der " JCA-Mauvernay Award   2015 ... und Dr.   Junko Takita    ™ , ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... PITTSBURGH , Oct. 8, 2015  Mylan N.V. ... will host a conference call and webcast on Tuesday, ... review the value to be created for shareholders of ... Mylan,s offer to acquire the company. During the call, ... compelling proposition for Perrigo shareholders. Mylan,s offer represents a ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... , Oct. 8, 2015  The National Heart, ... $40 million to the Broad Institute of MIT ... of 20,000 individuals, as well as data to ... profiling. Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine ... toward a larger initiative, which will use whole ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
... 20 Kinetic Systems, Inc., a leading global provider ... general industry clients, announced today the appointment of Peter ... well as to its Board of Directors. He will ... Mr. Maris has been with Kinetics for ...
... Sept. 20 Accuray Incorporated (Nasdaq: ARAY ), ... that its management is scheduled to present at the JMP ... 28, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT. ... from the investor relations page of the Company,s Web site ...
Cached Medicine Technology:
... is a national reference laboratory and a ... development. ARUP offers an extensive test menu ... in clinical and anatomic pathology. Owned by ... include more than half of the nation's ...
... a national reference laboratory and a worldwide ... ARUP offers an extensive test menu of ... clinical and anatomic pathology. Owned by the ... more than half of the nation's university ...
... is a national reference laboratory and a ... development. ARUP offers an extensive test menu ... in clinical and anatomic pathology. Owned by ... include more than half of the nation's ...
... Laboratories is a national reference laboratory and ... and development. ARUP offers an extensive test ... tests in clinical and anatomic pathology. Owned ... clients include more than half of the ...
Medicine Products: