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Worry may be linked to inflamation, says research

Anne Hart

Overcoming worries about breastfeeding, and divorce in childhood linked to inflammation later in adulthood. Anne Hart, Photography. Red cabbage and sauerkraut condiments.

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Worries about breastfeeding and divorce may be linked to inflammation

 

Children who experienced the breakdown in their parent's relationship before the age of 16, regardless of whether their parents were married or not, had 16% higher levels of C-reactive protein at age 44. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation measured in blood samples.

 

Long-term raised C-reactive protein is a known risk factor for diseases such as coronary heart disease and type II diabetes. Also, moms need help to overcome breastfeeding worries, a study says. More support is needed to help women overcome doubts in the hope that they will breastfeed their babies for longer, says a University of Alberta nutrition researcher.

Moms need help to overcome breastfeeding worries, a 2013 study says. More support is needed to help women overcome doubts in the hope that they will breastfeed their babies for longer, says a University of Alberta nutrition researcher.

A study conducted by the University of Alberta in Canada found that new moms are weaning their infants early instead of feeding them just breast milk for the first six months of life, said Anna Farmer, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science and the Centre for Health Promotion Studies. That falls below recommendations made by the World Health Organization and endorsed in 2004 by Health Canada and the Canadian Pediatric Society.

 

"Women's attitudes towards breastfeeding even before the baby is born can predict whether or not moms are going to breastfeed, so it is important that everything from the home environment to public spaces supports nursing moms," explains Farmer in the July 11, 2013 news release, Moms need help to overcome breastfeeding worries, study says. "We need to address their concerns and misconceptions about breastfeeding, especially young first-time mothers."

 

Farmer and her colleagues surveyed 402 pregnant women at three months postpartum and 300 of them again at the six-month mark, and found that though almost 99 per cent of the women started out breastfeeding their babies, only 54 per cent were still exclusively breastfeeding three months after giving birth. That number dropped again to 15 per cent by six months, in line with the national average, which is also low for breastfeeding.

 

The study, published recently in BMC Pediatrics, found that 54 per cent of the women had neutral attitudes towards breastfeeding, as did 53 per cent of the mothers who fed their infants formula during the first six months after birth. More than half of the women in the study stopped breastfeeding because of their perceptions of milk inadequacy or other problems. You may want to see the study, "Predictors of exclusive breastfeeding: observations from the Alberta pregnancy outcomes and nutrition (APrON) study."

 

The study also found that women with post-graduate university degrees were 37 per cent more likely to breastfeed exclusively for six months as opposed to those without a degree. As well, mothers with previous children were more likely to breastfeed for longer.

 

Should you breastfeed for as long as possible?

 

Farmer advises new moms to breastfeed for as long as possible, even on a partial basis. "Some breast milk is better than none." Another important study is "Asthma and atopy in children born by caesarean section: effect modification by family history of allergies – a population based cross-sectional study."

 

Farmer hopes the research findings will help doctors, nurses and other health practitioners provide advice to pregnant women with a focus on what may or may not be known about exclusive, long-term breastfeeding, to help promote the practice beyond the first few months after birth.

 

The study also recommends more policy provision for nursing rooms in public facilities. "The social environment needs to be more open. Women need spaces where they can breastfeed quietly without feeling ashamed," Farmer says in the news release.

 

Parental divorce in childhood is linked to raised inflammation later in adulthood

 

Parental divorce in childhood is linked to raised inflammation in adulthood. Researchers at the University of California, Davis study the link between inflammation and heart problems, reports the Medical Xpress. article, "Systemic inflammation, age, cardiac risk linked." But why do people whose parents divorced when they were children experience higher levels of inflammatory markers in their bloodstream?

 

Systemic inflammation, the immune system's defense against disease or injury that can contribute to problems like cancer and diabetes over time, increases with age in people with heart-disease symptoms, while inflammation specific to vascular disease does not, a UC Davis study has found.

 

The outcome, published in the September 2011 issue of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, is an important step in better understanding the role of different types of inflammation in heart disease. It also underscores the need to consider a broader range of immune-system factors in the quest to find accurate biomarkers of heart disease, especially in relation to age.

 

People who experience parental divorce during childhood have higher levels of inflammatory markers

 

People who experience parental divorce during childhood have higher levels of an inflammatory marker in the blood which is known to predict future health, according to new research from the University College London (UCL), reports a July 11, 2013 news release, "Parental divorce in childhood is linked to raised inflammation in adulthood."

 

The study, published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology found that children who experienced the breakdown in their parent's relationship before the age of 16, regardless of whether their parents were married or not, had 16% higher levels of C-reactive protein at age 44. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation measured in blood samples. Long-term raised C-reactive protein is a known risk factor for diseases such as coronary heart disease and type II diabetes.

 

This study is based on data from 7,462 people in the 1958 National Child Development Study, an on-going longitudinal study which has followed a large group of people since their birth in 1958.

 

The authors also looked at why this relationship might exist

 

They found that the relationship between parental divorce and later inflammation was mainly explained by adolescent material disadvantage and educational attainment, although the specific mechanisms remain unclear. In particular, those who experienced parental separation before the age of 16 were more likely to be materially disadvantaged in adolescence and had lower educational qualifications by adulthood, compared to children who grew up with both parents.

 

Dr Rebecca Lacey, Research Associate in the UCL Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and lead author of the study, said: "Our study suggests that it is not parental divorce or separation per se which increases the risk of later inflammation but that it is other social disadvantages, such as how well the child does in education, which are triggered by having experienced parental divorce which are important".

This study underlines the importance of supporting separating families in order to help reduce the risk of later disease. The study concludes "pathways through education appear to be particularly important and supporting children through education may be beneficial".

 

This work was funded by the European Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Also check out the studies, "Preventive detention for oxidizing agents: Role of oxidative stress needs to be re-evaluated," and "Low levels of natural antibodies behind stroke."