Breast milk improves lung function

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Breastfeeding has a positive effect on lung function

Breastfeeding improves the lung function of the offspring. As part of a study for the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), researchers at the University of Bern found that breast milk significantly improves lung function values ​​both in children of asthmatics and in the offspring of mothers without respiratory problems.

In view of the positive research results, the Swiss researchers emphasized once again that breastfeeding should be recommended to all women from the point of view of lung function in their offspring. With their results, the scientists led by Claudia Kühni, head of the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Bern, refuted the statements of an earlier study from the USA, according to which breastfeeding of children by mothers with asthma causes an increased risk of asthma in the offspring. This assumption must now be revised fundamentally, because the opposite is obviously the case, write the Swiss researchers. According to the ISPM, there are also clear positive effects on the lung function of children in breastfeeding mothers with asthma.

Lung function examined in almost 1,500 children According to the Swiss scientists, breastfeeding has "numerous advantages for infants, mothers and society." So far, "the effects of breastfeeding on the health of the respiratory tract" have been relatively unclear - especially for asthmatic mothers, report Claudia Kühni and colleagues. Although the protective effect of breastfeeding against respiratory infections is clear, the connection with the subsequent lung function in the offspring has been scientifically controversial, the researchers explain in the context of the publication of their results on the specialist portal "American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine" . Working closely with scientists from the University of Leicester, Claudia Kühni and her team analyzed the relationship between breastfeeding and lung function in a sample of 1,458 children from the so-called Leicestershire cohort studies. In addition to the duration of breastfeeding, all respiratory symptoms (respiratory symptoms) were taken into account through repeated surveys and lung function tests in schoolchildren aged 12 years.

Positive effects of breastfeeding on lung function The results of the SNSF study were clear: the children of mothers with asthma had on average smaller lung volumes than those of healthy mothers. But when the little ones were breastfed for four months or more, the values ​​of the children of mothers with asthma approach those of children of healthy mothers, report Claudia Kühni and colleagues. For all children - regardless of maternal asthma - the exhalation currents were better if they were breastfed for a period of four months or more, the Swiss researchers continued. Breast milk apparently has a positive influence on the patency of the respiratory tract, although it has not yet been finally clarified how this occurs, the Swiss scientists write. According to the researchers, their current results also indicate that, in addition to the preventive effects of breastfeeding against respiratory infections, asthma and allergies, breast milk also has "a direct effect on lung growth". This assumption must now be checked in further studies, according to Claudia Kühni and colleagues. However, according to the scientists, breastfeeding continues to be highly recommended for all infants, including those whose mothers have asthma, based on current study results. (fp)

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