subject: development

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...

New Tool Helps Clinicians Customize Milk for Premature Babies

New Tool Helps Clinicians Customize Milk for Premature Babies

Premature babies have higher protein requirements compared with term babies. To keep these babies growing at the appropriate rate, their mother’s breast milk needs additional protein. Sounds simple enough, but determining just how much protein fortifier should be added is quite complicated due to the high variation in milk protein concentration across (and even within) human mothers. Read More...

Maternal High Fat Diet: Consequences for Young.

Maternal High Fat Diet: Consequences for Young.

Mothers know that they are eating for two during pregnancy and lactation- but more is not always better. In a recent paper, Mendes-da-Silva and colleagues conducted an experiment to understand how the diet a mother consumed affected offspring development (2014). Read More...

Getting More (Phospholipids) Out of Milk

Getting More (Phospholipids) Out of Milk

In recent years, each solid fraction of milk has been revealed to contain functionally relevant complexity that had previously gone unappreciated. The protein portion of breast milk, for example, is broken down by milk enzymes into many smaller peptides, of which at least 41 fight bacteria. The oligosaccharide portion has a long list of roles, from nourishing ‘good’ gut bacteria to encouraging proper immune system development. And now there is also some evidence that different fats appear in milk in different proportions at different times in a young mammal’s life and in patterns that may help the young mammal to grow healthily. Moreover, researchers are asking whether the fats in question also influence the health of older humans, a line of investigation that could one day lead to fat-specific dairy products for the purpose of addressing certain health issues. Read More...

Brain Building Blocks in Milk

Brain Building Blocks in Milk

The combination of fat and sugar may be off limits for South Beach dieters, but a fat-sugar molecule could be just what human infants need to help their brains develop and to fight off pathogens. These molecules, called gangliosides, have been identified in human, bovine, and other mammalian milks. Although it has long been known that milk gangliosides are involved in infant immunity and neural development, researchers are only now beginning to elucidate the specific, and critical, roles they play in each process. And what scientists have uncovered just might make even the most careful dieter think twice about fat and sugar. Read More...

Milk Makes the Most Out of By-Products

Milk Makes the Most Out of By-Products

How do infants get their nutritional and developmental needs without having fully developed intestinal systems? Newborn babies are still developing in many ways, and although maturation of their gut is a high priority, it takes a while for their digestive system to work as it does in an adult. Meanwhile they need to be supplied with nutrients, growth factors, and both the beneficial gut microbes and the ingredients they need to thrive (so that they remain with that person over a lifetime!), all while breastfeeding. To achieve this, breast milk has a complex mixture of components that support all of these requirements. Read More...

Of Mice and Milk, Mind and Memory

Of Mice and Milk, Mind and Memory

Model animal systems allow researchers different opportunities for understanding biological phenomena. Depending on the study system, precise pathways from gene to protein to phenotype can be investigated. C. elegans and Drosophila melanogaster are the heavyweight champions in this domain, but when it comes to lactation, as non-mammals they are of limited use. Enter the lab rat, or mouse in this case. Mice allow researchers to systematically investigate mechanistic pathways through which mother's milk influences offspring neurobiology, immune function, and behavior. And a recent paper in Nature Neuroscience by Liu and colleagues (2013) investigated these in concert with the precision and dedication of a neuroscientist Sherlock Holmes. Read More...

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