Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

HIV study prompts call for revision of breastfeeding guidelines

30.03.2007
A study by scientists at the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, South Africa, has shown that exclusive breastfeeding can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission from mother to child in infants aged under six months when compared to those also given solid foods or replacement feed (i.e. formula milk). The research, published today in The Lancet, has implications for people in resource poor settings, such as in rural Africa.

In the study, funded by the UK's Wellcome Trust, researchers at the Africa Centre, University of KwaZulu-Natal, found that there was a 4% risk of postnatal transmission to infants solely fed on breast milk between the age of 6 weeks and 6 months of age. Infants who received formula milk or animal milk in addition to breast milk were nearly twice as likely to be infected as infants who received breast milk only. More alarmingly, those given solids in addition to breast milk were almost eleven times more likely to acquire infection.

"The question of whether or not to breastfeed is not a straightforward one," says Professor Hoosen Coovadia from the Africa Centre. "We know that breastfeeding carries with it a risk of transmitting HIV infection from mother to child, but breastfeeding remains a key intervention to reduce mortality. In many areas of Africa where poverty is endemic, replacement feed, such as formula milk or animal milk, is expensive and cannot act as a complete substitute. The key is to find ways of making breastfeeding safe."

In the developed world, the risk of transmission of HIV from mother to child has been dramatically reduced from about 25% to less than 2% thanks to the use of antiretroviral therapies, exclusive formula feeding regimes and excellent healthcare systems, but these are not available in resource-poor areas.

The mucous membrane within the intestine is thought to act as an effective barrier to HIV infection. Breast milk ordinarily strengthens and protects this lining. Exclusive breastfeeding is also associated with fewer breast health problems such as mastitis and breast abscesses, both of which can increase the amount of the HIV virus in the mother's breastmilk. It is unclear why adding solids may be particularly hazardous, though previous research has suggested that the larger, more complex proteins found in solid foods may lead to greater damage to the lining of the stomach, allowing the virus to pass through the gut wall.

Professor Coovadia and colleagues also found a significant increase in the risk of transmission even amongst exclusively breastfed infants when the mother had a CD4 cell count of less than 200/ml. CD4 cells coordinate the immune systems response to infection. Compared to mothers with a CD4 cell count of 500/ml, mothers with a CD4 count of less than 200/ml were almost twice as likely to infect their infants.

In addition to studying the risks of transmission, trained lay workers offered counselling to HIV-infected mothers to improve exclusive breastfeeding practices. As a result, they were able to achieve a much higher rate of exclusive breastfeeding than previously reported in similar communities.

The validity and importance of the results have been strengthened by other recently published and ongoing studies in Africa which confirm the team's findings about reduced transmission of HIV with exclusive breastfeeding, and the dangers to infant health and survival when replacement feeding deprives babies of the protective shield of breast milk.

"Based on our findings and evidence of being able to successfully support exclusive breastfeeding in HIV-infected women, and recent data from other parts of Africa, we believe that current guidelines on infant feeding warrant revising," says Professor Coovadia. "Previous reports have confused rather than guided such policies and we hope that our study will help clarify this complex issue."

Craig Brierley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Vanishing capillaries

23.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Nanomagnetism in X-ray Light

23.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>