Breastfeeding may reduce Alzheimer’s risk

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A new study conducted by researchers from university of cambridge found that mothers who breastfeed their children may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, with longer periods of breastfeeding also lowering the overall risk .This may be because of certain biological effects of breastfeeding.Breastfeeding restores insulin tolerance which is significantly reduced during pregnancy, and Alzheimer’s is characterised by insulin resistance in the brain.

Reserchers used a very small group of just 81 British women for the research.The researchers observed a highly significant and consistent correlation between breastfeeding and Alzheimer’s risk.At the same time, But, the connection was much less  in women who already had a history of dementia in their family.Researchers hope that this study will help  to find the relationship between female reproductive history and disease risk. Researchers also hope that this new findings may point towards new direction for fighting the global Alzheimer’s epidemic. 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 also  established that breastfeeding can reduce a mother’s risk of certain other diseases.

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 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

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