Lack of knowledge about the pathophysiology of infantile colic limits the development of effective drugs and treatment modalities including acupuncture. Acupuncture research has targeted the baby without considering the mother. However, the pathophysiological clues indicate that infantile colic is a shared pathology between the mother and the baby, especially in the case of breastfeeding mothers. A new theory proposed in this paper involves levels of the cytokine tumour necrosis factor α in the mother's milk and its influences on melatonin and serotonin metabolism in the baby as major components of the pathophysiology of infantile colic. These can be normalised by applying acupuncture to the breastfeeding mother alone or also to the baby.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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