SPLASH! milk science update: July 2015

This month’s issue features how human milk sugars protect against food allergies in mice, how milk may be the ultimate post-workout nutrition, making sense of dairy biosystems, and breast milk products of the future.

Human Milk Sugars Can Protect Against Food Allergies in Mice

Human Milk Sugars Can Protect Against Food Allergies in Mice

Food allergies affect a substantial proportion of the population, and there are few treatments available. A new study finds that two sugars present in human milk can help protect against food allergies and reduce the severity of food allergy symptoms in mice. If the results can be replicated in humans, these milk sugars could potentially lead to new anti-allergy therapies. Read More...

Milk Nutrients Augment Muscle Growth and Recovery

Milk Nutrients Augment Muscle Growth and Recovery

As strange as it sounds, a good number of us purposely inflict damage to our muscle tissue on a daily basis in an activity called strength training. A set of bicep curls or leg presses places the associated muscle fibers under strain, which damages the fibers. To repair themselves, the muscle fibers fuse together and increase in diameter and length, thereby creating a larger muscle. This gain does not come without pain. Damaged muscle fibers are a site of inflammation that normally lasts between one and three days. With this inflammation comes soreness, tenderness, decreased mobility of the muscle group, and subsequently decreases in agility and muscle performance. Researchers refer to this as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and it is considered a normal side effect of the muscle rebuilding process. Read More...

Making Sense of Dairy Biosystems

Making Sense of Dairy Biosystems

We live in an information-rich world. Each of us is capable of downloading gigabytes of data on our mobile or desktop devices each day. The upswing in data generation is also true of dairy science, which has moved into the big data realm. My students can create more data in an afternoon than I created in an entire PhD project when I was a student. Needless to say, capturing and analyzing this data is both challenging and rewarding. Since genomic data became more accessible, a number of approaches have been developed to bring the data together in useful ways. Gradually these approaches have become more sophisticated and insightful. A recent study by Widmann et al. provides a great example of how integrating different sources of large-scale genomic data can shed light on how dairy cows convert their feed into milk. Read More...

The Breast Milk Products of the Future

The Breast Milk Products of the Future

For several years now, as work on the health benefits of the constituents of breast milk has progressed, researchers have wondered whether their findings might benefit infants in ways other than encouraging moms and NICUs to feed them breast milk. In short, scientists have imagined that breast milk’s oligosaccharides, unusual and complex proteins and so on, could be bottled in some way, and provided quasi-medicinally to infants with particular needs, and perhaps even to sick adults. Science aside, the field has always been held back by a shortage of available human milk. But, with the Internet acting as an aggregator of many small-scale suppliers (mothers), a new world of breast milk-based products is beginning to open up. Read More...