subject: Pre-term babies

New Milk Biomarkers Predict Preterm Infant Growth

New Milk Biomarkers Predict Preterm Infant Growth

A current trend in the marketing of healthy foods and drinks is highlighting a product’s short ingredient list; the less “stuff” in a food, the healthier it must be, right? This may be true for energy bars or fruit juices, but when it comes to human milk, a long list of ingredients is precisely what makes it optimal for infant health. Over the last decade, as the health food aisle has increased in so-called simple and clean foods, human milk’s ingredient list just keeps getting more complicated. Innovations in analytical tools have led to more in-depth studies detailing the specific types of fats, amino acids, sugars, and other metabolites present in human milk. Creating milk “–omes”—specifically, the milk metabolome, glycome, and lipidome—complicates human milk research in the best possible way, opening the door to identifying specific milk components that influence infant growth and development. Read More...

Feeding the Preterm Infant: Fresh or Processed Breastmilk?

Feeding the Preterm Infant: Fresh or Processed Breastmilk?

This is the million-dollar question when it comes to feeding those infants that are born the most vulnerable. Preterm infants are entirely dependent for their survival on the level of medical care offered to them. Amongst the important decisions to be made by health professionals as to how a baby born preterm will survive is how and what this baby will be fed. Currently, the standard practice in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is to feed preterm babies frozen mother’s own milk, pasteurized donor milk and/or formula, depending on what is available. However, a ground-breaking study by Sun and colleagues has now challenged this well-accepted but poorly researched dogma, showing that fresh mother’s own milk (non-refrigerated, non-frozen, completely unprocessed) is the most beneficial for the preterm baby, just as it is for the term baby. Read More...

Probiotic Milk Reduces Rate of Pre-eclampsia and Pre-term Birth

Probiotic Milk Reduces Rate of Pre-eclampsia and Pre-term Birth

Probiotics are living microorganisms that improve health when they are administered in sufficient numbers. Often, administration means eating—in yogurt form or perhaps as a food supplement. Orally consumed probiotics can shift the composition of vaginal bacteria, making it harder for potentially pathogenic bacterial and yeast species to grow there. Probiotics have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. And it is these reports that encouraged a team of Scandinavian scientists to investigate whether consuming probiotic milk products during pregnancy cuts the probability of developing pre-eclampsia or having a spontaneous, pre-term birth. The results of their study are promising, not least because probiotic milk products are cheap and widely available. The next step will be to further investigate the mechanistic details of the effects. Read More...

Human Milk Lowers Risk of Retinopathy Among Preterm Infants

Human Milk Lowers Risk of Retinopathy Among Preterm Infants

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a common affliction of very young preterm infants that can lead to blindness. It occurs when the blood supply to the retina develops abnormally. In some cases, this problem is so severe it can cause the retina to detach from the back inner wall of the eye. Decades ago, medical researchers demonstrated a difficulty in the care of the tiniest preterm infants: supplying these infants with lots of oxygen improved their chances of survival, while at the same time increasing their risk of ROP. A recent meta-analysis, however, offers more straightforward advice to neonatal intensive care units: Providing human milk to a very young preterm infant—whatever amount is available—significantly reduces the risk of the disease. Read More...

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Do Larger Breasts Make More Milk?

Large breasts are often considered more attractive, but how about their function as organs destined to produce milk for the nourishment of the baby? During pregnancy and, particularly during lactation, women are mostly interested in their breasts as sources of food and growth signals for their baby. But, especially among women with breastfeeding difficulties, it is common for women to wonder, “If I had larger breasts, would I produce more milk?” Read More...

Milk Sugars May Help Pre-term Babies Fight Fungal Infection

Milk Sugars May Help Pre-term Babies Fight Fungal Infection

The human body is a host for billions of microbes, including the very common fungus, Candida albicans. Harmless most of the time, these yeast cells may suddenly transform into many cells, chained together as long and branching filaments that invade body tissues. This has been reported in many vulnerable individuals, including pre-term babies. A recent study by Gonia et al. found that, in the laboratory, human milk oligosaccharides protect cells, similar to intestinal cells from pre-term babies, against infection with Candida albicans. Read More...

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