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COVID-19 Vaccinated Mothers Transfer Active Antibodies in Milk to Infants

By: Lauren Milligan Newmark, Ph.D.
Issue #106 | Date: 01 2022

Many U.S. parents breathed a sigh of relief in the fall of 2021 when the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine received emergency use authorization for anyone five years and older. Although the youngest children are still ineligible for vaccination, infants—who are particularly vulnerable because of their immature immune systems—have access to another source of immune protection: human milk.

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Nutritional Intervention with Dairy Foods Prevents Falls and Fractures in Older Adults

By: Sandeep Ravindran, Ph.D.
Issue #106 | Date: 01 2022

We change in many ways as we grow old. In addition to external signs of aging such as white hair and wrinkles, our body also experiences less obvious changes, such as loss of muscle and bone mass. In a new study, researchers found that supplementation using high calcium, high protein dairy foods reduced the risk of falls and fractures.

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Exploring Cells in Human Milk with Single-Cell Sequencing

By: Marina Wang
Issue #106 | Date: 01 2022

Milk is a complex mixture of nutrients, peptides, and immunological factors, yet very little is known about the cells within human milk that make it the ultimate nutritional source for developing infants. Now, scientists have developed a method for using RNA-sequencing to study these little-understood human milk cells.

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Milk and Other Animal-sourced Foods May Be Key Components of a Low-cost Nutritious Diet

By: Sandeep Ravindran, Ph.D.
Issue #106 | Date: 01 2022

From steak and salad to milk and cereal, people enjoy a wide variety of foods from both plant and animal sources. As researchers have studied the environmental sustainability of various diets, there has been much debate about the respective roles of plant- and animal-sourced foods in such diets. Two recent studies approach this question from an economic perspective by taking into account both the nutritional content and monetary cost of foods.

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Dairy Farming Is Getting a Big Data Boost

By: Marina Wang
Issue #105 | Date: 11 2021

Industries around the world are being swept up in a Big Data and AI revolution, and dairy is no exception. A new, multidisciplinary project called Dairy Brain is using big data analytics and AI to give the industry a technological boost. Dairy Brain, a collaborative project with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is designing a web-based platform with a suite of smart tools informed by data analytics and AI that assists dairy farmers in management and decision-making.

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Anti-viral Properties of Human Milk Oligosaccharides

By: Sandeep Ravindran, Ph.D.
Issue #105 | Date: 11 2021

A surge in viral infections this past summer caused more children to be hospitalized than usual, and it’s not all COVID-19 [1,2]. Other respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus, have been hitting kids hard, highlighting how vulnerable they can be to viral infections. So it’s a good thing that in addition to providing nutrition, human milk can help protect against these diseases. Sugars called human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are abundant in human milk and are one of the human milk components that have been shown to have protective effects against a wide range of pathogens.

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New Processing of Dairy Milk Yields Drug Delivery Vehicles

By: Marina Wang
Issue #105 | Date: 11 2021

Dairy could a have a surprising new role to play in biomedicine and pharmacology. Over the past few years, researchers have shown a surging interest in exosomes, tiny membrane-bound vesicles that carry molecules from cell to cell. Scientists are hopeful that these cellular bubbles could serve as the ideal drug delivery vehicle. In a new paper, researchers have described an improved method for distilling an impressive number of exosomes from a cheap and widely available product—cow’s milk.

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Bring Back the Fat in Dairy

By: Lauren Milligan Newmark, Ph.D.
Issue #105 | Date: 11 2021

Fashion trends from the 1990s may be making a comeback, but 1990’s dietary trends should definitely stay out of style. In that decade, fat was a four-letter word and non-fat and low-fat versions of foods were promoted over their full-fat counterparts, with the hope of improving heart health and reducing waist lines. We now know that trading fat for carbohydrates did not make Americans healthier (or thinner), but old habits die hard. Thirty years later, the influence of this fat-free mania on food choices and dietary recommendations is still evident. The most recent edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends non-fat and low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese to limit saturated fat intake. But

Dietary Access to B Vitamins during Pregnancy and Lactation Influences Infant Development

By: Lauren Milligan Newmark, Ph.D.
Issue #104 | Date: 09 2021

Red meat, fish, beans, and cow milk are all good dietary sources of B vitamins. But what about human milk? The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. Unlike cow mothers who have bacteria in their rumen that synthesize vitamin B12 during food digestion, human mothers rely on their diet to supply milk with B vitamins [1]. Because populations in many parts of the world suffer from vitamin B deficiency due to poor quality diets or dietary preferences that exclude animal products (e.g., vegetarian and vegan diets), human milk B vitamin composition varies widely across mothers.

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Creating Cows That Produce Hypoallergenic Milk

By: Sandeep Ravindran, Ph.D.
Issue #104 | Date: 09 2021

Food allergies can be a real kick in the guts, causing a range of symptoms from mild discomfort to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. About 2–3% of babies and young infants have allergic reactions to proteins in cow’s milk, making this the most common food allergy in early childhood.

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Bitter Tastes from the Mother’s Diet Comes through in Her Milk—and That’s a Good Thing

By: Marina Wang
Issue #104 | Date: 09 2021

As the popular adage goes, you are what you eat, and a new study published in the Journal of Dairy Science (in a loose sense) seems to support that. A research team from the Netherlands has characterized the tastes and smells of human milk and discovered a correlation between the mother’s diet and the taste of her milk. In particular, the scientists were interested in teasing apart the sensory differences in fore and hind milk and focused on whether bitter tastes would show up through the mother’s milk

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From Myth to Reality: Yogurt and Dairy Foods Show Benefits to Cardiovascular Health and Type 2 Diabetes

By: Lauren Milligan Newmark, Ph.D.
Issue #104 | Date: 09 2021

Genghis Khan supposedly believed eating yogurt instilled bravery in his warriors, and in the Bible, Abraham’s longevity was attributed to his yogurt consumption. Although there isn’t scientific evidence that yogurt encourages people to storm through Mongolia or helps them live to be 175 years old, yogurt does have numerous demonstrated health benefits that could influence both vitality and life span—it has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve gut and cardiovascular health, and dairy foods, including yogurt, are associated with improvements in insulin sensitivity and a lowered risk for type 2 diabetes.

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Stinky Cheeses Have a Diverse Array of Peptides

By: Marina Wang
Issue #103 | Date: 07 2021

The thought of maggots, fungus, and mites infesting your cheese might make you feel queasy, but researchers are looking into how these unconventional cheese-making methods might actually release peptides, or amino acid sequences, that could be beneficial for your health. In a new study, scientists at the University of California, Davis, profiled the array of peptides found in four particularly pungent cheeses and discovered a huge diversity of peptides—between 2900 and 4700 per cheese.

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Milk-fed Bifidobacterium infantis EVC001 Promotes Proper Immune Development

By: Sandeep Ravindran, Ph.D.
Issue #103 | Date: 07 2021

No one likes having a sneezing fit due to seasonal allergies or struggling to breathe during an asthma attack. It turns out our propensity to such allergic and autoimmune reactions may come down to what’s in our gut—or rather, what was there when we were infants. A new study finds that whether a particular bacterium, Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis (B. infantis), is present in infant guts influences early immune development and could thus reduce the risk of allergic and autoimmune conditions later in life. The infant gut microbiome has been shown to play a particularly crucial role in the development of the immune system. An abnormal early gut microbiome is associated with immune

Real Milk, Plant-based Alternatives, and the Promotion of Healthy Teeth

By: Anna Petherick, Ph.D.
Issue #103 | Date: 07 2021

Dentists have plenty to do these days. During the pandemic, for weeks and months at a time, countries have put in place policies that have postponed many a dental check-up. Probably millions. Meanwhile, forced to stay home, people’s diets have shifted. One analysis of the Brisighella Heart Study cohort found that participants ate more yogurt and drank more milk than usual during Italy’s February–April 2020 lockdown. They also guzzled more sugars and sweets. While no dentist expects the extra sugar and sweets to make their job any easier, the elevated yogurt and milk intake just might, depending that is, on whether individuals consumed dairy milk products or plant-based alternatives.

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Milk Fat: Seven Mammals, Over 400 Lipid Classes

By: Lauren Milligan Newmark, Ph.D.
Issue #103 | Date: 07 2021

Low-fat, reduced-fat, whole-fat—we talk about milk fat as if it were a singular ingredient, when milk fat is actually made up of several thousand different fats. Mammalian milk fat is, in fact, the most complex lipid in nature. A new research field, called lipidomics, allows researchers to quantify this complexity, by identifying and measuring all the thousands of fats at once.

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Recent Studies Link Milk and Yogurt Consumption to Lower Bladder Cancer Rates

By: Anna Petherick, Ph.D.
Issue #102 | Date: 05 2021

Bladder cancer is a difficult condition to treat. It can hit anyone at any age but is more likely to afflict men than women, and smokers more than non-smokers. It is certainly costly for individuals. For health-system managers, tasked with trying to save as many years of life as possible with finite resources, it has the notorious title of the most expensive malignancy to treat from diagnosis to death. Identifying preventative measures, especially cheap ones, can therefore bring benefits beyond reducing bladder cancer rates, as they may free up resources for treatments of other diseases. Over the years, whether dairy products are preventative for bladder cancer has been debated.

Breastfeeding May Offer Long-term Advantages to Children’s Neurodevelopment Compared with Feeding Expressed Milk

By: Sandeep Ravindran, Ph.D.
Issue #102 | Date: 05 2021

Could how you eat something matter as much as what you eat? At least when it comes to human milk, the answer is still unclear. Human milk is known to provide several benefits to children. Studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding and breastfeeding for a longer duration are associated with enhanced cognitive development of children, improved behavioral outcomes related to attention and hyperactivity, and benefits to food-related behaviors such as less food fussiness. But researchers still don’t know whether feeding at the breast might confer some advantages over feeding expressed milk.

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New Dietary Guidelines for Americans Include Birth to 24 Months for the First Time

By: Marina Wang
Issue #102 | Date: 05 2021

The U.S. government recently released its 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), designed to help policymakers and health professionals advise everyday Americans on how to consume a balanced and nutritious diet. New to this edition are recommendations for the tiniest Americans, from Birth to 24 months. This latest edition is also organized by age group for the first time, as well as includes recommendations for pregnant and lactating women. As ever, dairy remains a key food group to consume for all age groups, as it is a unique source of quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

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Vaccinating While Lactating: COVID-19 Vaccines Are Safe and Provide Immune Benefits to Mother and Infant

By: Lauren Milligan Newmark, Ph.D.
Issue #102 | Date: 05 2021

Less than a year from the first recorded SARS-CoV-2 infection in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of three COVID-19 vaccines. Usually a decade long endeavor, the global pandemic that has claimed over three million lives necessitated a rapid and all-hands-on-deck approach to vaccine development and delivery. Even with the accelerated pace, the vaccine trials made sure to include a diverse group of adults across multiple races, ethnicities, and age groups to ensure vaccine safety and efficacy for all recipients. What this diverse group did not include, however, were breastfeeding mothers. Without any clinical data to guide their vaccination

Success of African Cattle Linked to Admixture Event 1,000 Years Ago

By: Lauren Milligan Newmark, Ph.D.
Issue #101 | Date: 03 2021

Bladder cancer is a difficult condition to treat. It can hit anyone at any age but is more likely to afflict men than women, and smokers more than non-smokers. It is certainly costly for individuals. For health-system managers, tasked with trying to save as many years of life as possible with finite resources, it has the notorious title of the most expensive malignancy to treat from diagnosis to death. Identifying preventative measures, especially cheap ones, can therefore bring benefits beyond reducing bladder cancer rates, as they may free up resources for treatments of other diseases. Over the years, whether dairy products are preventative of bladder cancer has been debated.

The Early Influence of Breastfeeding on the Infant Immune Response

By: Sandeep Ravindran, Ph.D.
Issue #101 | Date: 03 2021

Breastfeeding is known to have several long-term impacts on health and immunity, including a lower incidence of allergy, asthma, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. But researchers still know relatively little about the development of the immune system within the first few weeks of life, and about the effect of breastfeeding on this early immune development.

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Dental Time Machines: Tartar Provides Direct Evidence of Dairy Consumption in Africa

By: Lauren Milligan Newmark, Ph.D.
Issue #101 | Date: 03 2021

Six-thousand-year-old tartar is a dental hygienist’s nightmare but an archaeologist’s dream. That’s because the same yellow, cement-like deposits that have to be manually scraped off during a dental visit are also dietary time capsules. Like an insect preserved in amber, food particles from a lifetime of meals get trapped in tartar’s mineral matrix and become part of the fossil record. Rather than infer what past populations might have eaten, researchers can analyze ancient plaque and say what one particular individual actually ate.

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