Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Breastmilk Contains Stem Cells

This is nothing short of amazing!!!!!


By Catherine Madden

Mammary stem cells (red/blue) and differentiatedadult mammary cells (green) isolated from humanbreast milk.
The Perth scientist who made the world-first discovery that human breast milk contains stem cells is confident that within five years scientists will be harvesting them to research treatment for conditions as far-reaching as spinal injuries, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
But what Dr Mark Cregan is excited about right now is the promise that his discovery could be the start of many more exciting revelations about the potency of breast milk.
He believes that it not only meets all the nutritional needs of a growing infant but contains key markers that guide his or her development into adulthood.
“We already know how breast milk provides for the baby’s nutritional needs, but we are only just beginning to understand that it probably performs many other functions,” says Dr Cregan, a molecular biologist at The University of Western Australia.
He says that, in essence, a new mother’s mammary glands take over from the placenta to provide the development guidance to ensure a baby’s genetic destiny is fulfilled.
“It is setting the baby up for the perfect development,” he says. “We already know that babies who are breast fed have an IQ advantage and that there’s a raft of other health benefits. Researchers also believe that the protective effects of being breast fed continue well into adult life.
“The point is that many mothers see milks as identical – formula milk and breast milk look the same so they must be the same. But we know now that they are quite different and a lot of the effects of breast milk versus formula don’t become apparent for decades. Formula companies have focussed on matching breast milk’s nutritional qualities but formula can never provide the developmental guidance.”
It was Dr Cregan’s interest in infant health that led him to investigate the complex cellular components of human milk. “I was looking at this vast complexity of cells and I thought, ‘No one knows anything about them’.”
His hunch was that if breast milk contains all these cells, surely it has their precursors, too?
His team cultured cells from human breast milk and found a population that tested positive for the stem cell marker, nestin. Further analysis showed that a side population of the stem cells were of multiple lineages with the potential to differentiate into multiple cell types. This means the cells could potentially be “reprogrammed” to form many types of human tissue.
He presented his research at the end of January to 200 of the world’s leading experts in the field at the International Conference of the Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation in Perth.
“We have shown these cells have all the physical characteristics of stem cells. What we will do next is to see if they behave like stem cells,” he says.
If so, they promise to provide researchers with an entirely ethical means of harvesting stem cells for research without the debate that has dogged the harvesting of cells from embryos.
Further research on immune cells, which have also been found in breast milk and have already been shown to survive the baby’s digestive process, could provide a pathway to developing targets to beat certain viruses or bacteria.
A story provided by ScienceNetwork WA - Activate your connections to science. For permission to reproduce this article please contact ScienceNetwork. Related Stories: Clues to causes of cancer spreadLow-fat milk 'for chicks'Estrogen linked to breast cancerTumour cells are the true targetWallaby milk to improve dairy products

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

thoughts on breastfeeding....

I'm gonna try my post from yesterday one more time. IMHO, if you really did your "research" NOW, not at the time your child was born, you would know the studies are not biased - esp when studies from BOTH sides of the fence show the same thing. No one is saying "MUST" or "DIE".

Disco gave a great example with McDonald's earlier. I enjoy eating at McDonald's once in a while but I do so with the knowledge that it is not as good for me as making my own lunch and eating something healthy. I also know that by eating there it raises my RISKS for certain health problems later. Am I guarenteed to experience those health problems? No, but I am increasing my RISKS of developing them.

I don't know that people are STUPID for not believing but it does make them unaware and uninformed. You don't have to believe the facts but it doesn't make them untrue either.

I still think the point is that the risk comes moreso from NOT breastfeeding than from giving formula b/c you do not gain the benefits of bf. That's just sorta common sense to me. Formula IS a man-made material. Nothing man-made can truly compare to what is natural and carries some risks.

Maybe look at it this way (not sure if this is a good example or not) we know what health benefits come from eating fruits and veggies. Sure supplements are good but they are just that supplements, they are not as good as the real thing. According to the CDC when compared to people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts, as part of a healthy diet, tend to have reduced risk of chronic diseases. These diseases include stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and perhaps cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

It's the same with bfing, imo. Those who do bf and their children who are bf tend to have a reduced risk of various diseases, illnesses and health problems than those who don't and aren't. Although I think formula could be tested better, like the ingredients, I think it is more the NOT bfing, not getting what is natural, not doing what is natural (b/c bf benefits both mother and child) that puts one at a higher risk. When a baby is not breastfed (regardless of what they are given as a substitute) they miss out on:

Human milk protein (and get Cow's milk protein)
Human fats (and get Vegetable fats)
Human nucleotides (and get Nucleotides made from vegetable extract )
Living cells
Germ fighting proteins and carbohydrates

The protein, fat and nucleotides in breast milk come right from mom. They are designed by nature for your baby's brain growth. The protein, fat and nucleotides in formula come from animals and vegetables instead of mom. They are not designed by nature for your baby's brain growth.

Breast milk also contains living cells, antibodies and germ-fighting proteins and carbohydrates. They help prevent your baby from getting sick. Breast milk is baby's first immunization! Formula does not contain any germ-fighting nutrients. Only moms can make them! Science cannot duplicate them!

It's simple logic to believe that by NOT getting those living cells, antibodies and germ-fighting proteins and carbohydrates that it will effect someone's health in some way. I don't need a scientifical study to prove it, it's just common sense to me.

This is from the Nestle website: [italics mine]

Should all mothers be encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months?

Yes, breast milk is the ideal food for healthy growth and development of babies. In 2001 the World Health Organization (WHO) changed its recommended duration of exclusive breastfeeding from 4 to 6 months to 6 months, therefore breastfeeding should be encouraged and promoted accordingly.
Infant formula is the best nutritional alternative for those babies who are not breastfed.
Every mother has the right to choose what she feels is best for herself and her baby on the basis of objective information and advice from a qualified health professional.

Mothers should first and foremost be encouraged and supported to breast feed their baby.

Nestlé has always emphasised the superiority of breastfeeding.

Infant formula is the only product recommended by the UN's food standards body as an appropriate substitute for breast-milk.

Even one of the largest formula companies in the world recognizes the inadequacy of formula when compared to breastmilk.
by SarahC