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Study: Breastfeeding May Protect Against Epilepsy

In the first study of its kind, researchers in Denmark have just published a study in the Journal of Pediatrics showing an association between breastfeeding and lowered risk of epilepsy.

The longer babies were breastfed, the greater the protection, and exclusive breastfeeding was also associated with increased protection.

From Reuters:

To see whether breastfeeding influences a child's likelihood of ever having epilepsy, the researchers looked at the early feeding habits of almost 70,000 children in Denmark born between 1996 and 2000 and followed until 2008. They talked to the mothers, and tracked how many kids had seizures after they were a year old.

In the study, kids who had been breastfed for at least 3 months had about a one in 135 chance of developing epilepsy after they were a year old.

If they were breast-fed for at least 6 months, this chance dropped to about one in 150. Babies on breast milk for at least 9 months had about a one in 200 chance of getting the seizure disorder later.

The team also looked at whether consuming only breast milk, versus also eating some solid food, affected seizure risk. If a baby ate nothing else besides mom's milk for 4 months, it had about a one in 175 chance of having a seizure later.

The article suggests that this should be interpreted with caution because the study investigated a link never before studied, but this study certainly provides reason for further research.

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