PerspectivePhysiology

Understanding the mother-breastmilk-infant “triad”

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Science  06 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6482, pp. 1070-1072
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw6147

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Summary

Breastfeeding and breastmilk exert remarkable influence on infant survival and health (1, 2), including reduced risk from infections and promoting various aspects of postnatal development. The many maternal benefits include protection from breast and ovarian cancer and cardiometabolic disorders. Although the mechanisms underlying some of these benefits have been elucidated, the origins of others that have been reported, such as influence on adult IQ and later protection against obesity and diabetes, remain more obscure. Hence, timely investments in research designed to clarify the operations and biological effects of the mother-breastmilk-infant “triad,” and their translation into public health, are needed.

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