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Could Breastfeeding Prevent ADHD?

First Posted: May 14, 2013 11:47 AM EDT

A new study suggests that breastfeeding may have a positive impact on the physical and mental development of infants. In fact, findings show that it may actually help prevent attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later in childhood.

A team of Israeli researchers led by Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, MD compared breastfeeding history and other factors in a group of children 6-12 year of age diagnosed with ADHD to control groups of children who did not have ADHD. The results demonstrated that overall, the children with ADHD were less likely to have been breastfed at 3 and 6 months of age than the children without ADHD. This association between ADHD and lack of breastfeeding was statistically significant.

"Breastfeeding has been shown to have a positive impact on child development, good health, and protection against illness. Now, another possible benefit of breastfeeding for three months and especially six months or longer has been identified," said Ruth Lawrence, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine  and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine. "This study opens another avenue of investigation in the prevention of ADHD."

The study is reported in Breastfeeding Medicine, the Official Journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available on the Breastfeeding Medicine website. 

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