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Breast Milk May Reduce Risk of Schizophrenia

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Headline: New research concludes lack of breast milk may be risk factor in neurodevelopmental form of schizophrenia

Source: Business Wire
COLUMBIA, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE) via Individual Inc. -- May 14, 1997
Lack of Important Fatty Acids Such As DHA May Increase Risk
Infants deprived of breast milk may be at higher risk for developing schizophrenia later in life, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The study suggests that a lack of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a key fatty acid found in breast milk, may contribute to this risk. This hypothesis is consistent with the results of an earlier study that documented the correlation between low levels of DHA and schizophrenia in adults.

In his study Robin G. McCreadie, M.D., of the Crichton Royal Hospital in Scotland notes that "schizophrenic patients are less likely to have been breast-fed, and those who have not been breast-fed are more likely to have the neurodevelopmental form of the illness." The results show that during childhood, schizophrenics who were not breast- fed "had more schizoid and schizotypal traits, and were more poorly adjusted" than their siblings (who are more likely to have been breast-fed). In addition, the results show that patients who were not breast-fed had a lower mean IQ than breast-fed patients.

"A lack of important fatty acids, such as DHA, in bottle-feeds increases the risk of the neurodevelopmental form of schizophrenia in the individual predisposed to the illness by genetic factors or previous environmental insult," hypothesizes Dr. McCreadie. He suggests that key fatty acids found in breast milk, such as DHA, may help reduce the risk of developing this form of schizophrenia.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization joint expert committee on fats and oils in human nutrition has recommended adding DHA to infant formulas at levels historically found in breast milk. Formulas incorporating DHA have recently been introduced in parts of Europe and Asia. In the United States, the only way babies can get DHA is through breast milk because the fatty acid has not yet been incorporated into infant formulas.

DHA, an omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, is the building block of human brain tissue and the primary structural fatty acid in the gray matter of the brain. DHA ensures the fluidity of brain cell membranes, essential for the transmission of nerve signals in the brain. Last month at a conference held at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, leading researchers identified DHA as critical for mental well-being and revealed low DHA levels to be a significant risk factor for Alzheimer's and dementia. They also discussed the correlation between low blood levels of DHA and a number of other behavioral and neurological conditions including ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), hostility and depression.

Martek Biosciences Corporation manufactures NeurominsTM DHA, the world's only commercially available, single-nutrient source of DHA.

CONTACT: Stephanie Diaz | Director of Finance | (410) 740-0081
[05-14-97 at 16:00 EDT, Business Wire]

This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Breastfeeding/Nursing/Infant Nutrition


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