Research finds risk of developing Type 2 diabetes lower in breast-feeding mothers
PITTSBURGH Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that mothers who did not breast-feed their children have higher rates of Type 2 diabetes later in life compared with those who breast-fed.
"We have seen dramatic increases in the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes over the last century," stated Eleanor Schwarz, assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. "Diet and exercise are widely known to impact the risk of Type 2 diabetes, but few people realize that breast-feeding also reduces mothers’ risk of developing the disease later in life by decreasing maternal belly fat."
The study, published in the September issue of the American Journal of Medicine, included 2,233 women between the ages of 40 and 78 years.
Overall, 56% of mothers reported they had breast-fed an infant for at least one month. Twenty-seven percent of mothers who did not breast-feed developed Type 2 diabetes and were almost twice as likely to develop the disease as women who had breast-fed or never given birth. In contrast, mothers who breast-fed all of their children were no more likely to develop diabetes than women who never gave birth. These long-term differences were notable even after considering age, race, physical activity, and tobacco and alcohol use.
"Our study provides another good reason to encourage women to breast-feed their infants, at least for the infant’s first month of life," Schwarz added. "Clinicians need to consider women’s pregnancy and lactation history when advising women about their risk for developing Type 2 diabetes."
The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Institute of Child Health and Development.
Novartis completes purchase of Alcon stock
BASEL, Switzerland Novartis on Thursday announced that it has completed its purchase of Alcon stock from Nestle, resulting in 77% ownership of Alcon. This has been achieved by completing the acquisition of the remaining 52% of Alcon shares owned by Nestle for a total of $28.3 billion.
Alcon strategically complements Novartis’ business portfolio, the Swiss company stated, adding a platform in eye care to its pharmaceutical, generics, vaccines and diagnostics, and consumer health divisions. Alcon realized 2009 annual sales of $6.5 billion, operating income of $2.3 billion and net income of $2 billion.
The eye care sector offers further growth opportunities underpinned by the increasing unmet needs of emerging markets and an aging population. The Alcon and Novartis eye care portfolios address a broad range of these unmet needs, Novartis noted. The companies have complementary pharmaceutical portfolios for diseases in the front and back areas of the eye, as well as strong global brands in lens care.
“We are delighted to become majority owners of Alcon,” stated Joseph Jimenez, Novartis CEO. “Together, both companies can achieve their strategic priorities to deliver against patient needs through innovative and differentiated products.”
With the achievement of the 77% majority ownership, Novartis and Alcon will be able to pursue opportunities with Lucentis, the company noted, utilizing the companies’ complementary field forces around the potential launch of Lucentis for Diabetic Macular Edema. Other opportunities include optimization of lens care manufacturing and research collaborations.
Black & Decker introduces digital gardening device
TOWSON, Md. Tool company Black & Decker has introduced a device that it says is designed to take the guesswork out of gardening.
PlantSmart uses a digital sensor to measure information — such as sunlight, temperature, moisture and soil conditions — about the garden. Users then can upload data to an online account to find information about plants’ needs based on local conditions.