SPLASH! milk science update: October 2013 issue

This month’s issue covers how milk supports muscle-building in elderly consumers, how kangaroo milk suggests new treatments for premature infants, the discovery of a simple property of breastmilk that protects against infant bowel disease, and the relationship between insulin and lactation. Enjoy!

Ripped in Retirement

Ripped in Retirement

Many of the changes that happen with aging are hard to explain. Among them is a difficulty in maintaining and growing muscle mass. This is known as sarcopenia and has been estimated to account for 1.5% of total healthcare expenditures in Western countries. Over time, researchers have shown that a careful combination of resistance training, plus a diet containing sufficient and particular amino acids, can keep you looking buff well into your autumn years. Read More...

Kangaroo Tips for Human Preemies

Kangaroo Tips for Human Preemies

If a human mother were like a kangaroo, her “baby” would be born after only one month of gestation. Immediately after birth, her embryonic “baby” would crawl-climb up to one of her nipples and attach to one nipple, and not let go for the next 15 weeks. The “baby” nurses continually from the same nipple, drinking milk that is entirely different in composition from the milk consumed by the baby’s older brother or sister from the mother’s other nipple. The older sibling does not nurse continually. He or she bounces off to play and eat other food, and comes back to sip at the “Fountain of Mom” using the nipple not occupied by the newborn. Read More...

Nipping NEC in the Bud

Nipping NEC in the Bud

As little as four years ago, an article appeared in the journal Neonatology with the title ‘Necrotizing Enterocolitis – 150 Years of Fruitless Search for the Cause’1. This illness, called NEC for short, is on the rise. It is far too often fatal for the very young infants whom it afflicts. Recently, however, a team of researchers working in Pittsburgh made a breakthrough. They unraveled a molecular mechanism that allows NEC to develop—and in doing so, they also showed what it is about breast milk that protects babies from the disease. Read More...

Insulin Control = More Mammary Tissue, More Milk, Bigger Babies

Insulin Control = More Mammary Tissue, More Milk, Bigger Babies

We know insulin as a regulator of blood sugar, but it also influences cell growth and differentiation. This is especially relevant to mammary tissue during pregnancy and lactation. A role for insulin in lactation has been accepted for some time, but some questions have remained about its role during pregnancy—when the mammary gland is developing—and the relative roles of insulin and insulin-like growth factors. Clarifying the role of insulin in lactation was the aim of the study by Neville and colleagues. They used a mouse model system, and in an elegant approach, bred a mouse line in which the receptor for insulin was selectively deleted in the cells that produce milk. Read More...