Researchers say breastfed babies in risk of autism more likely to be sociable

Dresden, Germany — A research claims that babies who were found to have gene mutations linked to autism are likely to become sociable despite the fact that the developmental disorder is inclined to cause children to be socially challenged.

The study, which was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, claims that breastfed babies who were found to display genetic predisposition to autism tend to be more sociable than babies found with the same genetic mutation who weren’t breastfed.

The researchers attribute this positive effect of breastfeeding to the hormone oxytocin, which is normally found in a breastfeeding mother’s milk. Oxytocin is believed to be capable of boosting neuronal signals in the brain, which helps individuals respond to social cues better.

According to Max Planck Institute’s Kathleen Krol:

“These findings underline the importance of maternal care and oxytocin in early development of responding to social eye cues.”

It is important to note, however, that the effect observed by the researchers were only significant in babies who were found to possess CD38— an autism gene variant which scientists have linked to an abnormally reduced release of oxytocin.

Source: The Mirror: Breastfeeding ‘could protect babies from autism’ claim scientists behind new study