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June 12, 2007

Breast milk protects against childhood otitis media

Breast-feeding counters genetic susceptibility to otitis media even long after the feeding has stopped.

This according to researchers from University of Texas Medical Branch who examined genetic samples taken from 505 children in Texas and Kentucky.

Otitis media runs in families with certain gene abnormalities

The tendency to get otitis media runs especially in families where three important genes producing inflammatory signalling molecules for the immune system are ‘corrupted’ by abnormalities caused by so called SNP’s (single-nucleotide polymorphisms).

The researchers found that the breast-fed children with abnormalities in those genes actually were protected from recurrent ear infections (otitis media).

Source: The Hearing Review, February 2007: “Breast-feeding Helps Counter Genetic Susceptibility to OM”

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