Study finds that breastfed babies are given greater protection from autism
A recent study has shown evidence that mothers who breastfeed their babies are reducing the chance of their offspring developing autism.
Conducted by medical researchers in Germany, evidence collected by the research shows that breastfeeding has a strong link to increasing the social capacity of children that are genetically at a greater risk of the condition.
98 seven-month old babies were used as a test basis for the study, and all were shown pictures that displayed emotions like happiness, fear and anger, and their physical responses were then recorded.
The findings indicated that those babies who had been breastfed for the longest period of time were more likely to look at the happy eyes, and overall they did not react positively to the other images.
This suggests that oxytocin, which is present in a mother’s milk and is responsible for numerous infant benefits, can help counter a child’s genetic predisposition to autism.
Kathleen Krol, a Phd student at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, said: “Sensitive responding to emotions in others is a vital social skill that helps us related [sic] to others, predict their actions and co-ordinate our own behaviour during social interactions.
“This finding suggests that breastfeeding experience enhances pro-social tendencies in infants that are genetically at risk of autism.”
Previous research studies have highlighted the benefits of breastfeeding for new-borns and some of the advantages it produces include increased levels of confidence and IQ, as well as a greater immunity from infections and other illnesses.
More information about the study is available in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.