Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
The current recommendation for newborns/premature infants not breastfed is to use sterile infant formula (not powdered) due to the threat of e.sakazakii. An interesting patent filed in 1999 states some of the problems with sterilized infant formula. Hopefully, these problems have been corrected.
Patent # 6039985 called, "Refrigeration-shelf-stable ultra-pasteurized or pasteurized infant formula invented by Kamarei and owned by Princeton Nutritionals.
"Since sterilized products are designed to have up to one and a half (1 1/2) year of room temperature shelf-life, such products will have a different actual content of degradable micro nutrients (vitamins) in the early part of its shelf-life as compared to the latter part. Thus an infant will obtain a different and unknown amount of vitamins depending on when the sterilized product is consumed."
"To account for degradation manufacturers of sterilized infant formulas often include up to 50% to 70% more of a given viatmin."
The problem with that according to the patent is that it changes the taste of the product and is costly to the manufacturer. My question would be what about the fat soluble vitamins? Vitamin D--overdose possiblities?? What about DHA and ARA?
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
"Many studies show that type I diabetes is related to cow's milk consumption and neonatal feeding practice. In the case-control studies (including a study conducted in the Juvenile Diabetes Unit of the Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel), patients with type I diabetes were more likely to have been breast-fed for less than 3 months and to have been exposed to cow's milk protein before 3 months of age."
The answer to this dilemna is adding insulin to infant formula--recombinant insulin.
One might wonder whether infant formula with added insulin is a drug rather than a food product? While mothers in the USA must get a prescription from a physician for donor milk from a human milk bank, infant formula is readily available in stores. No warnings to mothers about the risk of diabetes....no advisory of whether the ingredients are genetically engineered. Parents are left in the dark about this "convenience" food for infants. Convenience is an interesting word. Many infant formula patents state that the reason they must produce infant formula is partly because mothers find breastfeeding "inconvenient," and "difficult." In a patent invented by Julian Cooper et al called ".alpha-lactalbumin gene constructs," patent # 5852224 assigned to PPL Therapeutics (made famous for the cloned sheep. Dolly), they state:
"Human milk has been shown to be superior over other milk types, notably cow, sheep, camel and goat milk, for human nutrition. However many mothers find breast feeding [two words] difficult or inconvenient. Moreover, in countries where infant food supplements are in great demand, it would be highly desirable to be able supply a milk product with the nutritional benefits of human milk."
Who has created the demand for this product? What is convenient about fixing formula versus the simplicity of putting a baby to the breast? Why is breastfeeding considered difficult? How much of the difficulty is living in a society where the bottle signifies infant feeding and the breast signifies sexuality. How does a woman in this society understand how much consumerism has shaped her behavior, her feelings about motherhood? If a woman embraces feminism, must she abandon her infant to daycare to fit the role society wishes her to play? If a woman instead embraces motherhood, must she consider herself enslaved to her children? And what about the many women who have no choice in the matter, it is economic survival? What kind of society fails to protect its young? What kind of society fails to protect mothers so that they can protect their young? The answer seems to be the society that fails to protect mothers and infants, is the consumerist-oriented society.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Bristol Myers Squibb (Mead Johnson) has a patent application that is called "Methods for inhibiting the growth of bacteria." It is application number 20070191264 and the inventors are Robert J. McMahon et al. It was filed in 2005. They plan to add bovine lactoferrin to infant formula. Since cow's have little or no lactoferrin, we might ask what exactly are they adding to infant formula? We can get human lactoferrin from transgenic cows (cloned milk). Cloned milk and meat have been accepted by the FDA for use in the marketplace. The FDA does not accept the word bovine lactoferrin and instead calls it milk lactoferrin. So one might come to the conclusion that this company has the intention of using a cloned product to inhibit bacteria--e.coli.
This pending patent states:
"Diarrhea is a particularly dangerous disease for children and infants. It is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age, accounting for 3-4 million deaths each year worldwide."
"Multiple studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding and to a lesser extent, partial breastfeeding, can protect against acute & persistant diarrhea."
"As a means for protecting children younger than 5 years of age against various diarrheal diseases breastfeeding has been identified as the most effective intervention."
What can one say? Breastfeeding has been identified as the most effective intervention against diarrhea in children under 5 years of age. Thank you Mead Johnson...now if we could only hear this publicly.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
TLRs according to this Nestle patent "play a crucial role in regulation of immune responses, especially of immune responses against bacterial conserved molecules present in the intestinal tracts of mammals."
This is US Patent # 7,230,078 called, "Soluble toll-like receptor," filed in 2002 by inventors Schiffrin et al. and assigned to Nestec (Nestle).
They patented from human milk obtained in Santa Cruz, California. I wonder if the woman or women knew that their milk was the basis for a patent by Nestle? If it were me, I wouldn't be too happy about it. One would think that Nestle owed these mothers some kind of financial compensation. But we don't compensate dairy cows for their donations of milk. So I guess why would we think that some huge corporation that makes millions of dollars from dissuading women from breastfeeding would compensate the lactating mother? Just think lactating mothers are supporting the infant formula industry. Ironic. Anyway on this fine day let's quote the Nestle patent:
"It has been demonstrated that breast-fed newborns have a lower incidence of intestinal infections, intestinal inflammatory conditions, lower incidence of respiratory infections, and, later in life, less allergic disease."
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
More relevant to my interests is the commercial aspects os FADS2. If we want to produce Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) this enzyme will help us make the conversion. Oh yes, there is a commercial aspect to this enzyme. Abbott Labs has a series of patents on the desaturase genes and uses. And of course, the use of this gene would be included in the production of infant formula besides nutritional supplements, other foods, etc. Desaturases are considered critical in the production of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. The Abbott patents are about using recombinant methods to produce these enzymes. (patent # 7241619, inventor Mukerji et al.)
DuPont de Nemours owns a patent that would creat GLA for placement in various foods and yes, infant formula. This patent states that formation of long chain PUFAs are rate limited by delta-6 desaturation (my understanding is that FADS2 is equivalent to delta-6 desaturase). "Many physiological conditions suach as aging, stress, diabetes, eczema, and some infections depress the delta-6 desaturation step." and "GLA is readily catabolized from the oxidation and rapid cell division associated with certain disorders, e.g.,cancer or inflammation." [patent application 200702378776 called "Production of Very Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Oilseed Plants," invented by Kinney et al.
This is speculation. But maybe the study that shows an increase in IQ for 90% of breastfed infants by the FADS2 gene is also showing the "environmental" damage done by mixed feeding to those whose IQ was not increased. We do know that genetic integrity maybe modified by environment--for example radiation's damaging effect on genes. We know from several patents that infant formula causes inflammatory health effects in the body. It would seem possible that enzymes/the genes might be damaged by mixed feeding. An infant might have the normal gene at birth but the initiation of an artificial food in the newborn period might damage that normal gene. Speculation, I know. But let me conclude this post with an interesting patent application called. "Method of improving learning & memory in mammals." The inventor is Robert J. McMahon and the application number is 2006247153 dated 2005. No assignee but McMahon is a senior principle researcher for Mead Johnson. This patent states:
"Among the recongized benefits of breastfeeding is optimal mental development." and "Specific components unique to human milk have the potential to support rapid brain growth."
The component that is of interest to this patent is from the sialic acid family, part of the oligosaccharides called N-acetylneuramic acid (NANA)---a component of human milk.
If genes are responsible for our intellgience, then the infant formula companies are not responsible for lowered IQs of babies fed their products. Who will question some of this thinking? Breastfeeding advocates celebrate these kind of headlines in the media but I can only shake my head and think about how easily people can be mislead.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
"The growth of Bifidobacterium in the intestine of a baby is believed to be promoted by the physicochemical properties of human milk, particularly its high lactose content, which is a substrate for Bifidobacterium, its low protein content, and its low buffering capacity. Unfortuately, infant formula is believed to have a high buffering capacity which is not favorable for the growth of Bifidobacterium."
Bifidobacterium is believed to help inactivate pathogens and microbes.
There is a patent application this year by inventors Atul Singhal and Alan Lucas owned by the University College of London called, "newborn infant formulas and feeding methods." application number 20070254062
"We have found from our long term infant studies that rapid early growth, achieved in large part from nutrient enriched feedings from conventional infant formulas, may result in long term adverse health effects in individuals later in life, particularly with regard to long-term vascular health relevant to the development of atherosclerosis and to the later propensity to insulin resistance and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), while slow growth in newborn infants achieved in part from feeding human milk or formula with a modified carbohydrate, fat and protein caloric distributions (e.g., higher protein, lower caloric density), can have a beneficial effect in the form or reduced occurrence of markers of adult morbidity."
Hm...so now we know that "conventional infant formula has long-term health consequences." What is stunning to me is that for years the infant formula growth charts have been used to badger breastfeeding women into starting formula...because their babies didn't gain weight in a similiar pattern to those infants fed formulas. And now we are witnessing the realization by the scientific research community that that was a mistake. One of the inventors--Alan Lucas owns another patent on infant formula from the late 80's owned by Farley's. What is troubling regarding these patents is that the research community on infant feeding thinks that somehow man can eventually create a safe substitute for mother's milk. The premise of making a safer and better infant formula is laid on a foundation made of sand. We have something that is known to be safe and of great benefit to the baby and the mother. Shouldn't our investment be in creating an environment supportive of breastfeeding? Instead our research community is investing in the continuous creation of the new and improved infant formulas.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
For example: a patent application #20060233762 invented by Robert J. McMahon et al. (McMahon happens to be a senior principle researcher for Mead Johnson) called, "Method for treating or preventing systemic inflammation in formula-fed infants," states:
"Because the microflora of formula-fed infants is so unstable and the gut microflor largely participate in stimulation of gut immunity, formula-fed infants are more likely to develop inflammatory illnesses. Many of the major illnesses that affect infants, including chronic lung disease, periventricular leukomalacia, neonatal meningitis, neonatal hepatitis, sepsis, and necrotizing enterocolitis are inflammatory in nature."
Patent # 6849268 invented by John B. Lasekan et al. and assigned to [owned by] Abbott [Ross]called, "Method for improving bone mineralization," states:
"Infants consuming formula containing palm olein oil had lower rates of calcium absorption."
Patent # 6656903 invented by Sawatzki et al. and assigned to N. V. Nutricia (formula company in the Netherlands) called, "Baby food stimulatory growth of thymus," states:
"The thymus thereby plays a very important role for maturation particularly of the T-lymphocytes." " Children who are nourished with mother milk exhibit a significantly larger thymus than children who are fed with formula food. Moreover it is known that babies nourished with mothers milk respond to vaccination during the first year of life with higher antibody production than it is the case with children fed formula foods."
Patent application 20070104700 invented by C. Garcia-Rodenas et al (Garcia-Rodenas is employed by the Nestle Research Center) called, "Nutritional formula for optimal gut barrier function," states:
"During the postnatal development , the newborn intestine experiences a process of maturation that ends by the establishment of a functional barrier to macromolecules and pathogenic bacteria. This phenomenon is called gut closure and appears to be affected by the diet."
"...the maturation of the barrier is faster in breast-fed than in formula-fed newborns. This could explain the higher prevalence of allergy and infection in infants fed formula than those fed with mother milk."
Eye-opening comments from the industry researchers themselves regarding infant formula. We have the printed word from these researchers who are patenting substances to correct these problems like slow gut closure, poor calcium mineralization, poor antibody response, inflammatory diseases, etc. This is just a small sample of what is written regarding the health risks of infant formula within patents and patent applications. Yet, we can't have a US Breastfeeding Ad Campaign that states alot of these health risks because there is no evidence???
What studies show us that this is a true statement? Yes, there are studies but the studies are done by the very industry who sells the product. So for example, the safety of DHA, genetically engineered algae and ARA, genetically engineered fungus is determined by Martek Bioscience. The FDA GRAS system is now a process whereby the industry determines its safety not the FDA. The FDA has opted out of a determination of safety. So safety of these products is not based on independent testing but rather by the consumer. If enough people get sick and die, then the product isn't safe and it will be taken off the market.
If infant mortality was tracked by feeding method (exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding, and exclusive formula feeding), we might get a better picture of infant mortality in the USA. In my county in Florida infant mortality for white infants is around 5% but for African American infants it is close to 14%. According to Florida Vital Statistics infant deaths were mostly due to pneumonia, gastroenteritis, and SIDS. It is known that breastfeeding, particularly exclusive breastfeeding has a preventative effect against pneumonia, gastroenteritis, and SIDS. African American babies are the least likely to be breastfed. They are also the least likely to have easy access to the health care system.
Safety of infant formula is based on the illusion that since we don't see infants drop dead after ingesting formula, then it must be safe. We don't see the long-term ramifications of artificial feeding because we are not looking at that issue. We are looking at short-term effects, and even that is smoke-screened because we do not track infant mortality by feeding method.
We do know that some babies have been damaged and die because their infant formula was contaminated with e. sakazakii. Shouldn't we question the safety of infant formula? Like tobacco smoking, the long-term damage takes years to see. And the industry will do everything in its power to load the dice so that consumers are kept ignorant.
The only safe alternative to breastfeeding is the use of donor milk not infant formula. Choice is an illusion. Artificial baby milks have levels of risk, and for some infants the risk is death. A physician once told me that infant formula was safe in the USA because of our excellent health care system. Access to health care in the USA is predicated on your income. Thus poverty, lack of access to health care, and bottle-feeding creates high levels of infant mortality around the world.