Health Highlights: April 11, 2017

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Story That Breast-Feeding Reduces Vaccine Effectiveness is False

A widely-circulated story that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a delay in breast-feeding to boost vaccine effectiveness is false. and have versions of the false story that link to a 2010 study published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, the Associated Press reported.

That small study tried to determine why a vaccine against rotavirus — which causes half a million child deaths worldwide each year — wasn’t as effective in developing countries as in industrialized countries.

The study concluded that breast milk could make the vaccine less effective. However, later studies showed there is no reason to limit breast-feeding in the hours before and after rotavirus vaccination, and the World Health Organization says breastfeeding doesn’t significantly impair the response to the rotavirus vaccines, the AP reported.

“There is no recommendation from the CDC or the (American Academy of Pediatrics) that mothers delay breast-feeding to enhance vaccine efficacy,” said Dr. Joan Younger Meek, a Tallahassee, Florida, physician who chairs a breast-feeding panel for the AAP.

“Breast milk contains multiple immune protective factors, including whole cells which fight infection,” according to Meek, the AP reported.

She said all breast-fed infants should receive scheduled vaccines, and there is no need to interrupt or delay breastfeeding when infants are vaccinated. Breast-fed babies sometimes respond better to vaccines than formula-fed infants, Meek noted.


Parental Smoking Linked to Gene Changes in Childhood Leukemia

There is a link between parental smoking and genetic changes associated with the most common type of childhood cancer, according to a new study.

Previous research has connected parental smoking — particularly by fathers — with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), but this new study is the first to link parental smoking with specific genetic changes in the tumor cells of the cancer, CBS News reported.

The association was strongest among children who were exposed to parental smoking during infancy, but were also found in youngsters whose parents quit smoking before the child was conceived.

The study of 559 childhood ALL patients in California was published in the journal Cancer Research.

Cure rates for childhood ALL are as high as 90 percent, but survivors face an increased risk later in life of secondary cancers, heart disease and other health problems due to the effects of chemotherapy treatment, noted lead author Adam de Smith, a researcher at the University of California San Francisco’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Our research is focused on trying to find risk factors for childhood leukemia, in the hope that one day we might be able to prevent this disease,” he told CBS News.

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