A review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Paediatrics has established a link between Breastfeeding and lowering of risk of childhood leukaemia by claiming that babies who are breastfed for 6 months or more have a 19% lower risk of the blood cancer compared to babies who are given formula milk or who are breastfed for a shorter period of time. Leukaemia is the most common type of cancer that effects children and is a leading cause of death among children. It has been recorded that the incidence rate of leukaemia is growing by about 0.9% each year.
Their researchers after analyzing 18 past studies and comparing the breastfeeding and childhood cancer rates concluded that breast milk contains many immunologically active components and anti-inflammatory defence mechanisms that influence the development of an infant’s immune system which decreases the child’s vulnerability to leukaemia. Amitay further explained that the breast-milk stem cells have properties very similar to embryonic stem cells that provide active immunity in the infant’s body. She also informed that the breast feed contains Human a-lactalbumin (HAMLET) that kills tumour cells and it also contains the maternal antibodies, called lactoferrin which can destroy microbes and reduce inflammatory response.
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