Flexural Dermatitis Risk Tied to Breastfeeding Duration

HealthDay News — Promotion of prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the risk of flexural dermatitis in adolescence but does not affect lung function or questionnaire-derived measures of asthma or atopic eczema, according to a study published online in JAMA Pediatrics.

Carsten Flohr, MD, PhD, from King’s College London, and colleagues investigated whether an intervention to promote prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding protects against asthma, atopic eczema, and low lung function in adolescence. They used data from the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial, which recruited 17,046 healthy term infants from June 15, 1996, through Dec. 31, 1997. Follow-up of 13,557 participants took place from Sept. 15, 2012 to July 15, 2015.

The researchers found a 54% lower risk of flexural eczema on skin examination in the intervention versus the control group (odds ratio [OR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.25 to 0.86).

In addition, there were less frequent self-reports of flexural eczema symptoms in the past year (OR 0.57; 95% CI, 0.27 to 1.18), asthma (OR 0.76; 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.23), and wheezing in the past year (OR 0.66; 95% CI, 0.37 to 1.18) in the intervention versus the control group, but confidence intervals were wide and included the null. There was also no significant difference in the forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration/forced vital capacity ratio z score. All results were similar after adjustment for baseline characteristics and on instrumental variable analysis.

“A breastfeeding promotion intervention reduced flexural dermatitis risk but had no detectable effect on lung function or questionnaire-derived measures of atopic eczema or asthma in adolescence in a setting where atopic eczema and allergies are rare,” conclude the authors.

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Flohr C, Henderson J, Kramer MS, et al. Effect of an intervention to promote breastfeeding on asthma, lung function, and atopic eczema at age 16 years: follow-up of the PROBIT randomized trial [published online November 13, 2017]. JAMA Pediatr. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.4064