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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:45 pm 
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This study was published today in the British Medical Journal.
Allergic Living
will be doing full article on this in the Winter issue. We have an interview arranged with Dr. Kramer, scientific director of Canada's CIHR health institutes, who led this study.


Breastfeeding does not protect children against developing asthma or allergies
Effect of prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding on risk of allergy and asthma: cluster randomized trial

Breastfeeding exclusively or for a prolonged period does not protect children against developing asthma and allergies, according to the results of a large randomised trial published on bmj.com today.

Whether breastfeeding protects against the development of allergies and asthma has been the subject of numerous studies and a topic of hot debate for the past 70 years. Yet research findings have been conflicting and all the evidence to date has been based on observational studies.

In this study researchers recruited 17,046 breastfeeding women attending 31 Belarussian maternity hospitals and one polyclinic affiliated with each maternity hospital during the late 1990s. They were split into two groups. In the experimental group breastfeeding was promoted and supported in the hospitals and polyclinics the women and children attended. In the control group the hospitals and clinics continued with their normal practices and policies. Within the experimental group there was a large increase in the number of women breastfeeding exclusively at three months. The women in this group also breastfed for longer.

13,889 children were followed up when they reached 6.5 years of age and tested to see if they showed any symptoms of asthma or allergies. This research was carried out between December 2002 and April 2005. A questionnaire was used to diagnose asthma, hay fever, and eczema. In addition skin prick tests were used to diagnose sensitivity to house dust mites, cats, birch pollen, mold, and mixed northern grasses.

The results indicate that increased breastfeeding did not reduce the risk of asthma, hayfever or eczema at 6.5 years of age despite large increases in the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding. It also did not succeed in reducing the prevalence of positive skin prick tests.

The researchers conclude that public health measures to increase breastfeeding seem unlikely to have a major impact on reducing the level of hereditary conditions such as asthma or eczema within the population.

They say: “our results underline the importance of seeking other explanations for the recent epidemic of allergy and asthma.”

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:07 pm 
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Here's the press release about the study from McGill University in Montreal. You'll note at the end that Dr. Kramer says he still wants women to breastfeed for many other health reasons, but they just know now that it doesn't protect against allergy.


September 12, 2007
CIHR trial led by McGill researchers followed 13,889 mothers and children

Breastfeeding does not protect children against developing asthma or allergies, says a new study led by McGill University's Dr. Michael Kramer and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The findings were pre-published online September 11 by the British Medical Journal.

Dr. Kramer – James McGill Professor of Pediatrics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University and Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health – and his colleagues followed 13,889 children who had been selected at birth from 31 Belarussian maternity hospitals in the randomized Promotion of the Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT). The follow-up took place from December 2002 to April 2005, when the children were 6½ years old.

In the survey, a control group of maternity hospitals and affiliated polyclinics was randomized to continue their traditional practices, while those in the experimental group were trained to teach better breastfeeding techniques and to encourage mothers to breastfeed as long and as exclusively as possible. At the end of the trial, the researchers concluded that breastfeeding does not provide any protection against asthma or allergies. "We found, not only was there no protective effect," said Dr. Kramer, "but the results even suggested an increased risk of positive allergic skin tests."

PROBIT was led by Dr. Kramer in collaboration with Drs. Robert Platt and Bruce Mazer of McGill and colleagues from the Belarussian Maternal and Child Health Research Institute. The study was conducted in Belarussian maternity hospitals because the former Soviet republic had not yet adopted many of the so-called "baby-friendly" innovations now common in most western countries. "At the time we began this trial in the mid-1990’s, the former Soviet countries still had very rigid rules, like the maternity services offered here 30 years ago," explained Kramer. "In a western country, we just wouldn't have been able to make a large difference between the control and the experimental groups."

"Belarus, like most former Soviet and other Eastern European countries, has much lower rates of allergy and asthma than places like Canada, and there's considerable debate as to why that is." explained Dr. Kramer. "However, our results are similar to those found in non-randomized cohort studies in New Zealand, where allergy and asthma are even more common than they are in Canada. This suggests that there is nothing unusual about the setting that would explain our results."

Dr. Kramer remained positive about the benefits of breastfeeding. "In the first phase of our project, we observed reductions in gastrointestinal infections and atopic eczema for the first year of life. I urge mothers to continue to breastfeed."

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:00 am 
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Any thoughts on this study - especially from some of you who wondered about whether "it was something I ate" during breastfeeding?

Relief or diisbelief, confusion?

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:00 pm 
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I'd say the results are in line with my experience. I breastfed Ethan exclusively for the first five and a half months when we introduced solids. Breastfeeding was his only source of "milk" up until 12 months when I introduced cow's milk (which he never really was that crazy about). I continued to nurse him approximately two times a day until he was 2. Didn't help us at all with developing allergies.
I know the study didn't deal with breastfeeding as a cause of allergy/asthma but I would be surprised (and disappointed) if any studies show that breastfeeding actually increases your child's chances for developing allergies/asthma. I just think that if you're able to breastfeed, it's such a wonderful experience to share with your little one. I was just thinking -- I'm sure mothers have been eating PB and other nuts throughout pregnancy/nursing for years -- if this is a factor in the cause of allergy, why is it only relatively recently that we've noticed such an increase?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:04 pm 
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I think that Saskmommyof2 made some great statements back in October 2005 when she said:
Quote:
All food you eat when you are breastfeeding passes to baby. There are going to be traces of everything in there. To have breastmilk free of food traces, you wouldn't be able to eat anything. So hook me to an iv because I don't want to chance anything! Would this then cause them to be allergic to whatever is in iv solution?

I wasn't big on nuts, never ate peanut butter or nuts during pregnancy... first daughter allergic to nuts. She was also breastfed for only 6 weeks and is not allergic to milk. She was not exposed to nuts until she was three. Still allergic.

I drank milk during pregnancy #2 (doesn't everyone ) and yes my 2nd daughter is allergic to milk ( breastfed alot longer ). However, had I drank more soy would she not be allergic to milk, but to soy? I doubt it. She's also allergic to chicken. Lots of people eat chicken and their kids aren't allergic.

We could drive ourselves crazy with this. We were all hungry pregnant and breastfeeding moms who needed to nourish our babies. We had to eat something. Allergies can develop to anything, does that mean all food is off limits to pregnant and breastfeeding moms?

Just because someone tried avoiding foods and got an allergy free child doesn't mean that is the reason. Not all kids develop allergies! Genetics plays a big role here! I think that is the reason their kids are allergy free.

I do believe in trying to avoid foods, and delay giving foods, I did it but its not a guarantee. Kids still get allergies. Lots of kids whose mothers ate nuts everyday when they were pregnant and breastfeeding don't have allergies.

Lets please stop the guilt.

Also, lets please remember that not all moms can breastfeed. Sometimes in stressful situations such as the health of a newborn or health of the new mom breastfeeding long term is not an option. When there is really no proof that breastfeeding is the cure for allergies, lets not add to the guilt of some moms by telling them "Maybe if you'd only breastfed longer?"


I for one breast fed until our daughter self-weaned at 18 months (obviously she was eating solids at this time). I used to joke taht my poor housekeeping practices would guaruntee that our daughter wouldn't develop asthma.
Ha! She has both food allergies and asthma. Oh well, she's a great ked anyway. :)

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:10 pm 
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Well, it makes sense to me, because I also breastfed until my son's self weaned at around 2....so obviously it didn't help to prevent their allergies.

I also have to laugh at the 'hygiene hypothesis', because my housekeeping skills also aren't up to the standards to have them develop allergies because things were too clean!

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:46 am 
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I breastfeed my baby, but I must admit that I've wondered if my antibodies (IgE) against the foods I'm allergic to can be transmitted.

I'm not as concerned about the foods I'm eating, as I've heard (was it Dr. Sicherer?) that exposing babies to food proteins through breastmilk may induce immune tolerance.

Any thoughts on either of these possibilities?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:17 pm 
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I agree, I think the relationship is more complex than it appears.

I breastfed my first for 3 days and had such a terrible time with engourgement he moved on to formula and never back to the breast. He has no allergies (and has been exposed to just about every nut imaginable before we knew of my second son's allergies).

I breastfed my second until he was 7 months old when found out that he was allergic to..well you see the list below. I stopped nursing when we foundthis out because it was deemed impossible for me to maintain a healthy diet while avoiding all of his allergens. I see now that it might have been possible- I could have eaten the same diet my son is now on!

Who knows, it doesn't make a bit of sense to me :roll:

_________________
2.5 year old: allergic to wheat, dairy, egg, peanut, oat, turkey, and cats
5 year old: no known allergies
Husband no known allergies
Me allergy to morphine only


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