Research Highlights: Women Who Breastfeed May Have Better Mental Health At The Age of 50


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Women Who Breastfeed May Have Better Mental Health At The Age of 50

October 23, 2021

  • Breastfeeding may give long-term health benefits to women in addition to the known benefits on the child.
  • Breastfeeding can also influence mental health.
  • However, breastfeeding has been diminishing after the industrial era; thus, it is important to understand the effects of breastfeeding on our lifespan.
  • Researchers studied how breastfeeding influences mental health in women.
  • The research involved neuropsychological test battery and interviewed Southern California women age 50 and above.
  • A neuropsychological test battery is a test used to evaluate the condition and function of the brain, including the cause of abnormalities, the type, and localization/lateralization of brain injury.[1][2]
  • The results showed that women who breastfed exhibited better mental performances compared to women who did not breastfeed.
  • Previous studies have shown that breastfeeding is correlated to a lower risk of certain diseases such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer.
  • Researchers speculated that most women in the past after their menopausal stage have better cognitive performance due to the prevalence of breastfeeding.

Sources:

Molly Fox, Ph.D, Prabha Siddarth, Ph.D, Hanadi Ajam Oughli, M.D, Sarah A Nguyen, M.D, Michaela M Milillo, B.S, Yesenia Aguilar, M.S, Linda Ercoli, Ph.D, Helen Lavretsky, M.D., M.S, Women who breastfeed exhibit cognitive benefits after age 50, Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2021;, eoab027, https://doi.org/10.1093/emph/eoab027

[1] Walsh, K.W. (1991). Understanding Brain Damage: A Primer of Neuropsychological Evaluation (2nd. ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone

[2] Darby, D., & Walsh, K.W. (2005). Walsh’s Neuropsychology: A Clinical Approach, (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone.