Helicobacter pylori acquired in childhood is an important risk factor for gastric carcinoma.
Once colonization is established, infection may be carried for life.
Dr Mark Pearce and colleagues used prospectively recorded, detailed information on infant feeding.
The research team investigated the potential link between duration of exclusive breastfeeding in infancy and seropositivity at age 50 years.
|Exclusive breastfeeding in infancy was associated with H pylori seropositivity|
|Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition|
H pylori seropositivity was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 407 individuals born in Newcastle in 1947.
The team related seropositivity to the duration of exclusive breastfeeding.
The researchers adjusted for measures of socioeconomic status and adverse housing conditions at birth.
The team found that the duration of exclusive breastfeeding in infancy was significantly associated with H pylori seropositivity.
The significant protective trend was only seen among men, with no significant effect seen among women.
Dr Pearce's team concludes, “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.”
“Further research is required, particularly as to why a significant effect was only seen among men.”
”However, 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.”