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Indy Lifestyle Online
The relationship between breastfeeding and breast cancer is a long and controversial one. Now one of the largest and most detailed investigations to date, published in the Lancet, involving almost 90,000 American women, concludes that there is no important link. Women who breast-fed for two years or longer were not at any statistically significant reduced risk. However, the researchers advise caution. Because breastfeeding appeared to lower the risk of breast cancer in women who gave birth only once, they say a protective effect cannot be ruled out altogether.

Deaths from asthma are rising and doctors are at a loss to explain why. Any new explanation is welcomed and will be analysed thoroughly, such as that from Canadian researchers, who have found that asthmatics who use major tranquillisers are more than three times as likely to die, or have a near-death experience, as asthmatics who don't use them. Patients who had recently stopped using the tranquillisers were almost seven times as likely to have a life-threatening crisis. The scientists urge any GP treating an asthmatic who also takes this class of drugs to monitor them carefully.

Support for mothers who breastfeed in public has come, surprisingly, from a leading supermarket. Sainsbury's says that customers who complain about breastfeeding in the store's restaurants should be offered the option of moving tables - leaving the mother undisturbed.