Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Protection against Otitis Media genes...breastfeeding

Everyone associates ear infections with babies and young children. As a matter of fact, I have a friend who's baby was just diagnosed with an ear infection last week. Healthy African-American children, Alaska Natives and Native Americans (all brown-skinned people) have a higher risk of Otitis Media (ear infections). Our children also often fall into the other risk categories such as being in group day care and having sickle cell anemia. Apparently two genes have been identified as the culprits in a genetic tendency toward getting ear infections (especially repeat infections).

There is a treatment that renders those genes unable to function, thereby taking the genetic factor out of the picture. It does not mean your child will not have ear infections. What it means is, with this treatment the child will be protected from the genes that he/she carries that would make the infections worse or more frequent (and for your child could mean none at all or one or two). The treatment is free and carries no negative side effects. The treatment requires you hold your child for 15-30 minutes every day, 8 to twelve times a day for at least the first 6 weeks of life and frequently (though not as frequent) after that for at least the first year. Okay, maybe I lost some takers, there. However, the good news is, any treatments are better than none. The treatment is, you guessed it, breastfeeding. It is free, can be given in any dose and it cancels out your genes for ear infections. Yet another way to give a baby protection against disease.

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