Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breastfeeding associated with lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to new study

Date:
January 7, 2014
Source:
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Summary:
In a new study of over 7,000 older Chinese women, breastfeeding – especially for a longer duration – is shown to be associated with a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Specifically, it showed that women who had breastfed their children were around half as likely to have RA, compared to women who had never breastfed.

In a new study of over 7,000 older Chinese women published online today in the journal Rheumatology, breastfeeding -- especially for a longer duration -- is shown to be associated with a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Specifically, it showed that women who had breastfed their children were around half as likely to have RA, compared to women who had never breastfed.

The beneficial effects of breastfeeding for both mother and child are widely known, but previous studies on the association between breastfeeding and RA have been mixed. This cross-sectional study was to assess the relationship between RA, breastfeeding, and also use of oral contraceptives, in a population of older women from South China, where cultural habits differ from those in the West, where most previous studies were conducted.

Professor Peymane Adab and colleagues used data from 7349 women aged 50 years or older in the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort. Questionnaires were used to ascertain sociodemographic history, disease and lifestyle history, obstetric history, breastfeeding history, and history of use of oral contraceptives. The women were also asked whether they had been diagnosed with RA, and were examined by a trained nurse to check their joints for any swelling or tenderness that may indicate RA.

The women were asked about whether they had ever been pregnant, the number of live births, and for each child they were asked to recall whether they had breastfed, and if so, for how many months. They were also asked whether they had used the contraceptive pill, the age at which they began taking it, and for how long they took it. The majority of women had had at least one live birth, and of these, over 95% had breastfed their children for at least one month. Only 11% had ever used the contraceptive pill, and mostly for short duration. The mean age for first pregnancy was 24 years, and the mean age for diagnosis of RA was 47.5 years.

Among women who had at least one live birth, and after adjusting for potential confounding factors, those who had ever breastfed were around half as likely to have RA. Furthermore, there was a statistically significant trend of decreasing risk of RA with increasing duration of breastfeeding. Further adjustment for parity did not alter the direction or size of the effect. There was no relationship between the use of the contraceptive pill and RA.

This is the first study to demonstrate a link between breastfeeding and lower risk of RA in a Chinese population, where breastfeeding was common practice and more prevalent than in many Western populations. This study was based on a large population sample in the community, rather than being drawn from secondary care. As data were part of a larger study, the researchers were able to adjust for many potential confounding factors.

The researchers note that the association found in this study has potentially important implications for future RA disease burden, saying: "Women who took part in this study were born in the 1940s and 1950s, before China's one-child policy was introduced in the late 1970s, and at a time when breastfeeding was more prevalent. The consequent decline in breastfeeding supports the need for prospective studies to examine whether there will be a higher incidence of RA in the future.

"More importantly, replication of the association between breastfeeding and lower risk of RA in a different population reinforces the need for further research to understand the hormonal mechanisms involved in the onset of RA."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oxford University Press (OUP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Adab, C. Q. Jiang, E. Rankin, Y. W. Tsang, T. H. Lam, J. Barlow, G. N. Thomas, W. S. Zhang, K. K. Cheng. Breastfeeding practice, oral contraceptive use and risk of rheumatoid arthritis among Chinese women: the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study. Rheumatology, 2014; DOI: 10.1093/rheumatology/ket456

Cite This Page:

Oxford University Press (OUP). "Breastfeeding associated with lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to new study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093037.htm>.
Oxford University Press (OUP). (2014, January 7). Breastfeeding associated with lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to new study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093037.htm
Oxford University Press (OUP). "Breastfeeding associated with lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to new study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093037.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins