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KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stem Cells in Breast Milk

Breast milk contains stem cells! How cool is that?!

Says an article in ScienceAlert, from Australia and New Zealand:
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 [also] 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 [focused] on matching breast milk's nutritional qualities, but formula can never provide the developmental guidance."
Hey, formula makers, you can't make formula with stem cells in it! Nature does know what it's doing.

Hat tip to Nursing Your Kids.


Anonymous said...

Oh, my. I can't bvelieve that guy even said breast milk and formula look alike. Not that much alike. If he has a brother who isn't an identical twin -- maybe that much alike.

Nor do they smell alike. Nor does, I might add, the nursing mother smell like the non-nursing mother. Whereas the latter smells about like anyone else, the former smells a bit more, up close anyway, like a cheese factory. I know this.

Anonymous said...

Cheese factory? Now that is funny!
I asked my fella if I smelt like a cheese factory when our son was breastfed. 'Are you going mad' was the response 'do you really think I'd share a bed with a woman that smells like cheese'.
So Betsy did ripe cheeses feature heavily in your breastfeeding diet then...lol!

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