Kull I, Melen E, Alm J, et al. Breast-feeding in relation to asthma, lung function, and sensitization in young schoolchildren

Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology (Impact Factor: 11.48). 04/2010; 125(5):1013-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.01.051
Source: PubMed


The evidence from previous studies on beneficial effects of breast-feeding in relation to development of asthma is conflicting.
To investigate the relation between breast-feeding and asthma and/or sensitization during the first 8 years of life.
In a birth cohort, children were followed up to 8 years by questionnaires at ages 2 months and 1, 2, 4, and 8 years to collect information on exposures and health effects. Determination of serum IgE antibodies to common inhalant and food allergens was performed at 4 and 8 years. Longitudinal analyses were applied by using general estimated equations. The study population consisted of 3825 children (93% of the original cohort), of whom 2370 gave blood and 2564 performed lung function measurements at 8 years.
Children exclusively breast-fed 4 months or more had a reduced risk of asthma during the first 8 years of life (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.63; 95% CI, 0.50-0.78) compared with children breast-fed less than 4 months. At 8 years, reduced risks of sensitization (adjusted OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64-0.99) and asthma in combination with sensitization (adjusted OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.37-0.93) were seen among children exclusively breast-fed 4 months or more. This group also had a significantly better lung function measured with peak expiratory flow.
Breast-feeding for 4 months or more seems to reduce the risk of asthma up to 8 years. At this age, a reduced risk was observed particularly for asthma combined with sensitization. Furthermore, breast-feeding seems to have a beneficial effect on lung function.

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    • "Indeed, studies dating back to 1936 have reported lower incidences of eczema (Grulee and Sanford, 1936) and asthma (Friedman and Zeiger, 2005) in breastfed infants. The lasting effects of breastfeeding have been reported for children 8 years old, and in an independent study, infants breastfed for at least 4 months had reduced risk of developing asthma (Kull et al., 2010). More recently, early-life microbial exposure in the built environment has been linked to allergic asthma development. "
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    • "Les résultats des études portant sur les relations entre allaitement maternel et risques atopique et asthmatique de l'enfant sont contradictoires. Plus de 3800 nouveau-nés non sélectionnés ont été enrôlés dans une étude prospective de longue durée [25]. Les taux de réponse des parents à un questionnaire détaillé et validé ont été de 96, 94, 92 et 84 % aux âges d'un, deux, quatre et huit ans respectivement. "

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    • "BAMSE is a prospective Swedish birth cohort, where newborn infants were recruited 1994-1996 and questionnaire data about baseline study characteristics were obtained from 4,089 children [28,29]. Parents answered questionnaires on the children’s symptoms related to allergy and lifestyle factors at approximately age 1, 2, 4 and 8 years. "
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