PHARMACY

Study shows breastfeeding not likely cause of sagging breasts

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Findings from a study published in the September/October 2008 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal show that, contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding is not a likely cause of post-pregnancy drooping of the breasts.

As a growing number of women turn to plastic surgeons to counteract the effects of pregnancy on their bodies, one common postpartum complaint is sagging breasts, also known as breast ptosis, which many believe to be linked to breastfeeding. However, as this new study demonstrates, it appears that other factors, including older age, higher body mass index and a history of smoking, are responsible for the breast sagging experienced by some women after pregnancy.

“It is widely assumed that breastfeeding will adversely affect the appearance of the breasts, and this has been a major reason cited by women who choose not to breastfeed,” stated Brian Rinker, a plastic surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky and lead author of the study. “However, there has been very little objective data to support or deny that this is, in fact, the case. With this study, we hope to shed some light on the subject and correct any misconceptions.”

Fifty-eight percent of the patients studied had a history of breastfeeding one or more children; 39 patients did not breastfeed.  Weight gain during pregnancy across both groups ranged from 11 to 100 pounds and 39 percent reported a history of smoking. Fifty-one respondents described an adverse change in breast shape following pregnancy. BMI and weight gain during pregnancy  both were significantly higher in the non-breastfeeding group.

Analysis of this information showed that greater age, higher BMI, greater number of pregnancies, larger pre-pregnancy breast size and history of smoking all were significant risk factors in the development of sagging breasts. Breastfeeding, however, was not—even as the duration of breastfeeding increased.

“Patients need to be armed with objective data rather than broad assumptions when making important health decisions,” stated Alan Gold, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.  “While further study in larger numbers of patients is necessary to assess the effects of breastfeeding on the breasts versus other factors, this study is a good start in providing information for those who are concerned about the potential aesthetic effect of breastfeeding and is consistent with our ideal of practicing evidence-based medicine.”

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Nerviano partners with Genentech to develop anticancer drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A company that develops cancer drugs has announced a multi-year collaboration with Genentech.

Nerviano Medical Sciences said that it would collaborate with South San Francisco, Calif.-based Genentech to search for antibody drug compounds to develop anticancer drugs. It is the second agreement between Genentech and NMS in less than a year, NMS said.

Genentech will have exclusive rights to fully develop and commercialize licensed products, while NMS will primarily synthesize and manufacture drug reagents.

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More Americans cutting back on prescription medications

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Economic difficulties are causing more Americans to forego prescription drugs, according to The New York Times.

Costs for housing and food are trumping costs for drugs, and some patients have stopped taking drugs for chronic conditions such as osteoporosis and high cholesterol. Some drug makers have reported decreases in sales of certain drugs, while IMS Health has reported reductions in prescriptions being dispensed.

The Times reported that the trend could cause increases in complications from chronic disease.

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