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Last Updated: Aug 19th, 2006 - 22:18:38

Paediatrics Channel
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Latest Research : Paediatrics

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Breastfeeding Linked to Reduced Bed-wetting
Jul 10, 2006, 07:18, Reviewed by: Dr. Priya Saxena

“Delayed neurodevelopment can have a profound impact on raising likelihood of nocturnal enuresis”

Babies who are breastfed for longer than three months are less likely to exhibit bed-wetting during childhood, according to a new study by researchers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s children’s hospital and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Results of the study, publishing in the July issue of Pediatrics, found that children who were breastfed for less than three months were twice as likely to experience bed-wetting as compared to those who were breastfed for more than three months.

“It is estimated that six million children wet the bed annually in the United States,” said Joseph G. Barone, MD, the study’s lead author. Dr. Barone is director of the Pediatric Continence Center at The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and associate professor of surgery at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “Our study is the first to develop preliminary data regarding the potential proactive role that maternal breastfeeding may have on childhood bed-wetting.”

Researchers analyzed the relationship between bed-wetting and breastfeeding because both have been reported to be strongly associated with childhood development. The study examined the histories of 55 children between the ages of 5 and 13 who experienced enuresis, defined as involuntary voiding of urine during nighttime sleep at least twice a week, and the histories of those children were compared to a control group of 112 children of similar ages and genders. It found that breastfeeding for longer than three months was linked to a lower likelihood of bed-wetting during childhood.

“Delayed neurodevelopment can have a profound impact on raising likelihood of nocturnal enuresis,” Barone said. “Breastfeeding may be the first measure a mother can take to prevent her baby from bed-wetting later in life.”

Breast milk supplemented with formula did not make a difference in the rate of bed wetting.

- Barone JG, Ramasamy R, Farkas A, Lerner E, Creenan E, Salmon D, Tranchell J, Schneider D. Breastfeeding During Infancy May Protect Against Bed-wetting During Childhood. Pediatrics. 2006. Published online June 2006, doi: 10.1542/peds.2005-2738.


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As one of the nation’s leading comprehensive medical schools, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, with campuses in New Brunswick, Piscataway and Camden, is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education, research, health care delivery and the promotion of community health for the residents of New Jersey. With 2,400 full-time and volunteer faculty, the medical school maintains educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels for more than 1,500 students, as well as continuing education courses for health care professionals and community education programs.

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is a 600-bed academic medical center providing state-of-the-art care across a wide range of health care services. Specialties include cardiac care from screening to heart surgery and transplantation, cancer care, emergency medicine, pediatrics and maternal-fetal medicine. The hospital has earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety. Consumers Digest Magazine ranked the hospital fifth in the nation in patient safety initiatives. Harvard University researchers, in a study commissioned by The Commonwealth Fund, identified RWJUH as one of the top 10 hospitals in the nation for clinical quality. New Jersey Monthly and New York Magazine report that RWJUH has more top physicians than any other hospital in New Jersey. RWJUH is also a three-time recipient of the prestigious Magnet Award for Nursing Excellence.

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