subject: breastfeeding

Diabetes and Breastfeeding

Diabetes and Breastfeeding

When it comes to understanding the links between breastfeeding and diabetes, causation runs both ways. Diabetes can influence if and for how long a new mother breastfeeds. On the other hand, developing diabetes during pregnancy and lactation can affect mother’s metabolic health later in life. As more studies in these fields generate results, a complex picture is emerging of interacting risk factors. Read More...

Breastfeeding Improves Mother’s Cardiovascular Health

Breastfeeding Improves Mother's Cardiovascular Health

How does breastfeeding alter the odds of developing cardiac diseases later in life? Recently, a small spurt of papers has filled in some important details on this matter. Together, they find that breastfeeding generally promotes a healthy heart. Read More...

Celiac Disease Influences Breast Milk Composition

Celiac Disease Influences Breast Milk Composition

Nearly 1% of Americans suffer from the autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. For these people, the digestion of foods containing gluten causes the immune system to attack the lining of their small intestine, resulting in inflammation that prevents absorption of nutrients. But can it also influence breast milk composition? A new study reports that mothers with celiac disease produce milk with lower concentrations of protective factors, including antibodies and probiotic bacteria. Read More...

Can a Revised Recipe Make Formula-fed Infants Smarter?

Can a Revised Recipe Make Formula-fed Infants Smarter?

Breast is best makes theoretical sense because breast milk is the only foodstuff to have evolved specifically to meet the nutritional needs of human infants, as Bruce German, Professor of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis is fond of saying. There are many reasons why the act of breastfeeding itself may be beneficial. But in purely compositional terms, scientists designing infant formulas rightly seek to mimic the real thing. Recently, a team of Swedish researchers ran a study in which they assigned some infants a novel formula with less energy and protein than normal infant formula, and with a higher concentration of fat globule membranes derived from cow’s milk. Read More...

Serotonin and the Body

Serotonin and the Body

Serotonin is well known as a chemical that elicits effects on the brain. But it has a vast number of other roles; for example, serotonin affects heart function, as well as milk release from the mammary gland, bladder control and how long it takes a man to ejaculate during sex. In fact, most of the body’s serotonin is not in the central nervous system—and almost all of the 15 serotonin receptors that have been identified in the brain are also found outside of it. Read More...

Breast Milk Antibody Promotes a Healthy Gut into Adulthood

Breast Milk Antibody Promotes a Healthy Gut into Adulthood

Many pediatrics studies have shown that inflammatory bowel disease is more common in infants who are not breast fed than in those who are. But explaining why this is the case has been hard. Recently, Charlotte Kaetzel and her colleagues at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, went further in demonstrating a mechanistic link than any group has done before. They report1 that an antibody (SIgA) transmitted in breast milk from mom to babe alters the expression of genes in infants’ gut epithelial cells. Not only are these genes associated with the development of irritable bowel syndrome, but the changes appear to last into adulthood. Read More...

Monkey Model of Milk and Lactation

Monkey Model of Milk and Lactation

Like humans, monkeys generally give birth to one baby at a time and nurse them for extended periods during a time of infant and toddler-like development. Primates need this extended lactation period for social development. Just as humans need to learn interpersonal and societal rules, monkeys also need to learn how to find food and not kill each other. Thus, monkeys, like humans, produce a dilute milk to feed slow-growing young. Read More...

Breastmilk as a Tool to Shed Light on Breast Cancer

Breastmilk as a Tool to Shed Light on Breast Cancer

When we discuss breastmilk we usually think of the baby. And rightly so, because this golden liquid contains all the nutrition, protection, and developmental signals the baby needs to grow healthily and appropriately. Research, however, is now starting to also consider the mother and ask what breastmilk can tell us about her health, the function of her breasts, her predisposition to developing breast cancer, and ultimately, the mechanisms that can lead to cancer. What is in the milk that can answer these questions? Read More...

A Purpose for Spilled Milk

A Purpose for Spilled Milk

In the first weeks after giving birth, mothers are a mess of dripping milk. Babies learn how to feed while the mother's mammary glands learn how much milk to produce during what can be a roller coaster of too-much and too-little as the milk supply adjusts. Milk commonly spills on the baby and can even spray the baby's face when he or she unlatches after the flow has started. Does getting milk all over the baby have a purpose? As crazy as that sounds, maybe. Recent studies explored the use of human milk for treatment of diaper dermatitis and eye infections--both potential advantages of spilled milk. Read More...

Breastmilk Composition is Dynamic: Infant Feeds, Mother Responds

Breastmilk Composition is Dynamic: Infant Feeds, Mother Responds

Unlike formula, breastmilk composition is dynamic, responding to milk removal that occurs during breastfeeding. This plasticity of breastmilk composition may be key to early infant growth and programming of development. An exciting new study demonstrates how removal of milk by the infant stimulates changes not only in the lipid composition but also the cellular components of breastmilk. This knowledge now sets the basis for new clinical interventions aimed at improving health outcomes of compromised infants, such as those born prematurely. Read More...

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