Thursday November 23, 2017

Tired of Taking Antibiotics? Sugars in Breast Milk May Protect You Against Bacterial Infections, Says New Study

According to the data by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes about 23,000 deaths annually

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Breast milk is believed to be the healthiest nutrition
Feeding your baby breast mil for the first 6 months is recommended for the nutritional benefits it provides. Pixabay
  • Bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes more about 23,000 deaths annually.
  • Breast milk helps newborns fight bacterial infections
  • Researchers discover natural sugars that can reduce human dependence on antibiotics

Washington DC, August 22, 2017 : Newborns and infants are highly susceptible to bacterial infections and diseases. In the face of medical challenges, young mothers tend to look for remedies that cater to the problem with the least possible side-effects. In a latest study by a Washington DC University, it has been revealed that the mother’s milk consists of a unique blend of fats, proteins, and sugars that help protect babies against bacterial infection.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, mother’s milk is supposed to be the only nutrition for a newborn for the first six months.

Breastfeeding is one of the key phases to nurture a newborn. Combined with antibodies and nutrients, the practice is not only beneficial to the baby but for the mothers as well.

Breast milk addresses a multitude of problems and diseases in children,

  • Lowers risk of allergies and asthma
  • Reduces respiratory illnesses and chances of diarrhea.

Apart from these, researches have not revealed that it also helps babies fight against bacterial infections.

ALSO READ: What Mothers are Complaining about this World Breastfeeding Week 2017

An interdisciplinary team of doctors and chemists at the Vanderbilt University have discovered that carbohydrates in a mother’s milk possess a complex blend of antibacterial properties. Additionally, the research also revealed that apart from their own qualities, the presence of these carbohydrates also enhances the efficacy of antibacterial proteins present in the milk.

Calling it an example of a comprehensive antimicrobial action by the carbohydrates present in the mother’s milk,  according to Steven Townsend, the director of the study, “One of the remarkable properties of these compounds is that they are clearly non-toxic, unlike most antibiotics”, as per a report by ANI.

According to the data by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes about 23,000 deaths annually.

Additionally researchers asserted that pregnant women are the most common hosts to group B strep bacteria, which cause severe infections in newborns. These infections often lead to pneumonia or sepsis, and in extreme cases death due to the absence of properly developed defense mechanisms in newborns.

However, group B strep bacteria rarely infect babies.

This motivated the researches to undertake a research to address the growing number of deaths and to probe whether the mother’s milk contains specific protective compounds that fight these bacteria in babies.

Previously, it was believed by biochemists that proteins are the most important followed by carbohydrates. “Far less is known about the function of sugars, and as a trained glycoprotein chemist, I wanted to explore their role,” asserted Townsend.

The Research

For the research, the carbohydrate in human milk, also known as oligosaccharides, was collected from different donor samples. The samples were then summarized with a mass spectrometry technique that is used to identify large biomolecules. The obtained compound was then added to strep cultures which were then observed using a microscope.

The study showed that the sugars found in breast milk in such cases can act as anti-biofilms agents. To put it simply, the researchers observed that the sugars not only sensitized the target bacteria but also killed them. Some of the oligosaccharides directly fought the infecting bacteria. Additionally the carbohydrate compounds also broke down the biofilms that the bacteria form to protect themselves.

ALSO READ: World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016 Focuses on Using Antibiotics with Care

It ha been revealed that these powerful sugars can potentially become part of an antibacterial treatment for adults and infants alike, thus reducing our dependence on artificially produced antibiotics.

This study has been published and is now a part of the ACS Infectious Diseases journal.


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Breastmilk Aids to Combat Food Allergies in Newborns, says Research

Breastmilk of nursing mothers can help in protecting the newborns from developing food allergies, suggests a new research

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Breastmilk
Breastmilk aids in combatting diseases in Newborns. Pixabay.

New York, Nov 23: Breastmilk of nursing mothers who eat foods that commonly cause allergy, such as milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish during pregnancy can help protect newborns from developing food allergies, suggests a new research.

The mouse study, led by the University of Michigan, showed that when a nursing or pregnant mother is exposed to a food protein, it combines with her antibodies, which are transferred to the offspring through breasmilk and breastfeeding.

The food protein-antibody complexes are then introduced to the offspring’s developing immune system, triggering the production of protective T immune cells that suppress allergic reactions to the food.

These protective cells also persist after antibodies from the mother are gone, promoting long-term tolerance to the food.

The findings support the recent allergy prevention guidelines, which reject prior advice urging mothers to avoid high allergic foods during pregnancy or while breastfeeding breastmilk.

“This controlled study shows that mothers should feel free to eat a healthy and diverse diet throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding,” said James R. Baker, Professor at the University of Michigan.

“Eating a range of nutritious foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding will not promote food allergies in developing babies, and may protect them from food allergy,” Baker said.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, showed that breast milk from mothers who consumed allergenic foods protected against food allergy, preventing anaphylaxis as well as production of immunoglobulin E and expansion of mast cells, both hallmarks of an allergic response.

Breast milk was found protective even when fed to unrelated offspring not exposed to food allergens in utero.

In other experiments, mothers who had never consumed allergenic foods were given food-specific antibodies from other mothers. This, too, protected their breastfed offspring.

Human breast milk, fed to mice with humanised immune systems (tailored to respond to human antibodies), was also protective, suggesting that the mouse findings may translate to human infants. (IANS)

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WHO launches a new global effort to end TB by 2030

The announcement was made in the Global Ministerial Conference in Moscow.

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WHO will start working towards ending Tuberculosis
Dr. Simon Angelo (L) examines Iman Steven suffering from tuberculosis, held by her mother (R) at the hospital of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), June 15, 2016, at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, South Sudan. VOA

Delegates from 114 countries have agreed to take urgent action to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, the WHO said.

The announcement on Friday came as the delegates gathered in Moscow for the first WHO global ministerial conference on ending tuberculosis, Xinhua news agency reported.

The delegates promised to achieve strengthen health systems and improve access to the people regarding TB prevention and care so that no one is left behind.

They also agreed to mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing through increased domestic and international investments to close gaps in implementation and research.

Resources are expected to advance research and development of new tools to diagnose, treat and prevent TB, and to build accountability through a framework to track and review progress on ending TB.

“Today marks a critical landmark in the fight to end TB,” said World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“It signals a long overdue global commitment to stop the death and suffering caused by this ancient killer.”

Though global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37 per cent, progress in many countries has stalled, global targets are off-track and persistent gaps remain in TB care and prevention, according to the WHO.

As a result, TB still kills more people than any other infectious disease. Due to its antimicrobial resistance, TB is also the leading killer of people with HIV.

Representatives at the meeting, which was attended by over 1,000 participants, also promised to minimize the risk and spread of drug resistance and do more to engage people and communities affected by or at risk of TB. (IANS)

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Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

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sale of cigarettes
The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA

Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.

He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.

Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. (VOA)