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Researchers in Israel have discovered a relatively simple way to lower the risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the most commonly diagnosed neurobehavioral disorder in children and adolescents.
Their answer: breastfeeding.
The study demonstrates a clear link between rates of breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing ADHD, even when typical risk factors are taken into consideration. Children who were bottle-fed at 3 months of age were found to be three times more likely to have ADHD than those who were breastfed during the same period.
While researchers do not yet know why breastfeeding has an impact on the future development of ADHD — it could be due to the breast milk itself, or the special bond formed between mother and baby during breastfeeding, for example — they believe this research shows that breastfeeding can have a protective effect against the development of the disorder and can be counted as an additional biological advantage for breastfeeding.