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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2005 Nov;41(5):617-20.

Does increased duration of exclusive breastfeeding protect against Helicobacter pylori Infection? The Newcastle Thousand Families Cohort Study at age 49-51 years.

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School of Clinical Medical Sciences, Sir James Spence Institute of Child Health, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK.



Helicobacter pylori acquired in childhood is an important risk factor for gastric carcinoma. Once colonization is established, infection may be carried for life. This study used prospectively recorded, detailed information on infant feeding and investigated the potential link between duration of exclusive breastfeeding in infancy and seropositivity at age 50 years, as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


H. pylori seropositivity at age 50 years was investigated among 407 individuals born in Newcastle in May and June 1947 and related to the duration of exclusive breastfeeding after adjusting for measures of socioeconomic status and adverse housing conditions at birth.


Duration of exclusive breastfeeding in infancy was significantly associated with H. pylori seropositivity (odds ratio per 30 days, 0.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.78 to 0.98). The significant protective trend was only seen among men (odds ratio per 30 days, 0.78; 95% confidence interval, 0.65 to 0.95), with no significant effect seen among women.


Increased duration of exclusive breastfeeding in infancy may have a long-term protective effect against chronic H. pylori infection and hence the risk of gastric carcinoma. Although further research is required, particularly as to why a significant effect was only seen among men, the results provide additional support for the concept that breastfeeding may have long-term influences on health and that human milk is the ideal complete first diet for human infants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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