Exploring the Association Between Breastfeeding and Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Title: Exploring the Association Between Breastfeeding and Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Authors: Running, Sarah
Date: 2017-12-02
Abstract: Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive autoimmune disease that leads to impaired physical function. The treatment focuses on disease management since it is an irremediable condition. As such, prevention is crucial. However, relatively few prevention strategies exist because of the unknown etiology. RA affects 0.9% of Canadians; however, this is expected to increase. Objective: The purpose of this study was to review the existing literature and assess evidence pertaining to the association between breastfeeding and development of rheumatoid arthritis. Methods: A structured literature review was conducted. Articles were retrieved from PubMed and SCOPUS using the keywords “rheumatoid arthritis” AND (“breastfeeding” OR “lactation”). The articles were limited to those written in the English language with full text available. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses were excluded. Results: Nine articles were deemed relevant to the study. Five indicated breastfeeding to be protective against the development of rheumatoid arthritis while two suggested breastfeeding increased the risk of RA. In two studies, neither a positive nor negative association could be determined. Additionally, there was no consensus as to the duration of breastfeeding required to elicit a reduced risk. Conclusions: The literature reviewed in this study supports the association between breastfeeding and reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis. However, due to the varying results in the literature and the uncertain etiology of RA, further research is needed to reinforce the relationship and determine a causal mechanism. Additional research is also required to establish the duration of breastfeeding necessary to reduce risk.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/37210
CollectionSciences de la santé - Affiches // Health Sciences - Research Posters