Breastfeeding, ovulatory years, and risk of multiple sclerosis.
Langer-Gould A, Smith JB, Hellwig K, Gonzales E, Haraszti S, Koebnick C, Xiang A. Neurology. 2017 Jul 12. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004207. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004207. [Epub ahead of print]
To determine whether women who breastfeed their infants longer or have fewer ovulatory years are at lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).
METHODS:We recruited women with newly diagnosed MS or its precursor, clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) (n = 397), and matched controls (n = 433) into the MS Sunshine Study from the membership of Kaiser Permanente Southern California. A structured in-person questionnaire was administered to collect the behavioral (pregnancies, breastfeeding, hormonal contraceptive use) and biological (age at menarche (onset of menstruation) and menopause (Ending of menstruation), amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)) factors to make up ovulatory years.
CONCLUSIONS: Mothers who breastfeed longer may be at lower subsequent risk of developing multiple sclerosis. This is consistent with the other known maternal health benefits of breastfeeding and with our previous observation that women with MS who breastfeed exclusively are at lower risk of postpartum relapses.