Breast-Feeding May Lower Risk of MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Researchers found that mothers who had breast-fed one or more children for a total of 15 months or longer were 53 percent less likely to develop MS than those with zero to four months of total breast-feeding.

"No one has shown before that breast-feeding could have a prolonged benefit on the mother's immune system," said study author Dr. Annette Langer-Gould. She's a research scientist in neurology at Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, Calif.

An estimated 400,000 Americans -- and 2.5 million people worldwide -- have MS, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. It's an incurable autoimmune disease, meaning the body attacks its own tissues, often causing numbness, tingling, bowel and bladder difficulties, walking problems and thinking issues. MS disproportionately affects women of childbearing age compared to men or older women.

The study was published online July 12 in the journal Neurology.