SPLASH! milk science update: January 2015

This month’s issue explores dairy’s effect on mortality, vouchers to incentivize mothers to breastfeed, clues from seals to solve premature milk loss, and improving infant formula with bovine osteopontin.

Milk and Mortality

Milk and Mortality

A research article published in the British Medical Journal on dairy intake and mortality is causing a lot of fuss [1]. So far, the journal has published 45 rapid responses to this article compared with an average of 3 responses to other articles in the same issue. What’s all the fuss about? Read More...

Should Breastfeeding Mothers be Paid?

Should Breastfeeding Mothers be Paid?

Is offering vouchers to mothers, who are statistically unlikely to breastfeed, bribery—and thus a misuse of public funds—or is it smart public health policy? A pilot study in poorer areas in northern England are testing whether offering new mothers shopping vouchers helps increase breastfeeding rates. The results so far suggest that the scheme does achieve this aim. Opinion is divided, however, as to whether this would be a good use of public finances. Read More...

Evolution Solves a Problem of Premature Milk Loss

Evolution Solves a Problem of Premature Milk Loss

The mammary gland is an amazing example of a dynamic tissue capable of undergoing major changes to match the infant's need for milk. Hormonal regulation during pregnancy causes the growth of new mammary cells, and the gland enlarges to prepare for milk production. We know a lot about signals that are reset following birth to coincide with lactation, but exactly what tells the mammary gland to stop producing milk is less clear. Read More...

Building Better Options: Bovine Osteopontin in Infant Formulas

Building Better Options: Bovine Osteopontin in Infant Formulas

Cow’s milk, wheat flour, and sugar mixed together was the first recipe whipped up by Henri Nestlé’s in the mid-1800s marketed as “farine lactée.” However, infant feeding-practices have been widely variable historically and cross-culturally for thousands of years, if not longer (1). Infants have been fed combinations of animal milks, cereal grains, meat broths, juices, tea, and a diversity of supplemental culturally specific infant foods (1). More recently, improved research instruments and techniques have yielded new information, leading to the reformulation of commercial artificial breast milks. Infant formula now typically includes long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) (2) and lactorferrin (3,4). Versions of formula that feature prebiotics and probiotics are also commonly available (5,6). Might bovine osteopontin be the next ingredient to be added to infant formulas? Read More...