Study: Breastfeeding may reduce chances of ADHD

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich Kolata, for
The Jerusalem Post

A new study shows that breastfeeding for at least three months may reduce the risk of and even prevent Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The study, appearing in Breastfeeding Medicine, was carried out by an Israeli team on 150 children aged six to 12 years.

ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by a significant lack of attention or impulsiveness and hyperactivity - or both.

The condition is usually recognized by the time the child finishes first grade and affects up to 15 percent of school-age children. In 30 to 50% of cases, the chronic disorder continues through adulthood.

The study was conducted by Dr. Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, head of the Institute for Child Development and the Neuropediatric-rehabilitation unit at Beit Loewenstein Rehabilitation Hospital in Ra’anana; and Dr. Anna Katchvanskaya of the Rabin Medical Center- Beilinson Campus’s neonatal department in Petah Tikva.

The children were all diagnosed with ADHD at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva.

Two control groups of the same or comparable genetic background who were raised under similar conditions but not diagnosed with ADHD were used as a comparison; the first group included siblings of ADHD children who did not have the disorder themselves.

They asked the mothers to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire on their education, psychosocial factors and any medical conditions as well as data on their pregnancy and delivery.

The study showed that the lowest rate of ADHD was diagnosed in children who were breast-fed between three and six months, compared to the two control groups.

The researchers said theirs was the first study in which control groups with similar genetic and environmental characteristics (including siblings of children with ADHD) were used and a connection was found between breast-feeding and low ADHD risk.

Among the ADHD children, only 43% breast-fed at three months, compared to 69% in the group of siblings with a similar genetic background and 73% of the additional control group.

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