SPLASH! milk science update: October 2014 issue

This month’s issue features articles about milk sugars and immune development, bone health, protein and obesity risks, and genetic insights into milk production in cows.

Milk Sugars Enter Circulation

Milk Sugars Enter Circulation

For years, researchers have wondered out loud about the possible roles of a group of sugars found in breast milk in the development of the brain and the immune system. Relatively high levels of these sugars in mothers’ milk have been linked to less frequent upper respiratory infections in infants.The evidence for systemic effects of these sugars may seem impressive, but it is undermined by a missing link. Strengthening the immune response in the lungs, and indeed, improving memory in the brain, requires first traveling from the gut into the blood. However, whenever researchers have tried to detect these sugars in breast-fed infants’ blood, they have failed. Read More...

Boning Up on Dairy and Skeletal Health

Boning Up on Dairy and Skeletal Health

For its weight, bone is the strongest material in nature. Developing and maintaining strong bones is heavily influenced by your genetic makeup, but nutritional and other environmental factors can make or break your chances of reaching your genetic potential. The role of calcium in supporting bone growth and preventing bone loss is well known, but overall, bone health depends on more than just calcium. Read More...

Protein for Babies: Too Much of a Good Thing

Protein for Babies: Too Much of a Good Thing

Intuitively, most of us would think that a high protein intake would be advantageous for babies and that the more of it would be better, as protein helps build and maintain our muscles and different tissues. However, in the long term it may actually be the opposite. Recent reports indicate that a high protein intake in infancy is associated with a greater risk of obesity later in life. Read More...

CNVs Linked to Milk Production

CNVs Linked to Milk Production

You may be surprised to learn that you can have many more copies of a particular gene than your neighbor, and yet you both still function like normal human beings (or not!). With each new generation of cows (or humans), DNA is copied from parents to offspring. During this copying process, whole segments of the genome can be missed or duplicated such that the offspring have fewer or more copies of the segment than normal. This variation in the number of copies of a genomic segment is called “copy number variation” (CNV). Read More...