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Stem cells

Stem Cells Discovered in Human Breast Milk

Thursday, March 13, 2008 by: Jo Hartley
Tags: stem cells, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) The latest indicator that there is more to breast milk than providing food for a baby's physical needs came recently when Dr. Mark Cregan, a molecular biologist with The University of Western Australia, discovered stem cells in breast milk. Not only is this a very exciting revelation, but Dr. Cregan is very hopeful that this is the first of many discoveries in the potency of breast milk.

"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," Dr. Cregan recently said. He believes that breast milk takes over from the placenta at birth providing for all of a baby's genetic developmental needs. "It is setting the baby up for the perfect development," stated Dr. Cregan.
It has already been established that breastfed babies have an IQ edge over their formula-fed peers. There are also a host of immune-system boosts that a baby receives when breastfed. Scientists are now maintaining that these health benefits carry a baby on into their adult life as well.

Dr. Cregan's message is clear. "The point is that many mothers see milk 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," he says.

Dr. Cregan received his PhD at the University of Western Australia, specializing in the cellular composition of breast milk. The focus of Dr. Cregan's research at this time is the cellular composition of breast milk in relation to milk synthesis, milk removal and potential lactation difficulties, as well as the potential use of breast milk in breast cancer research.

His research team cultured the cells of human breast milk and the result was positive for the stem cell marker, nestin. Further analysis has shown that the cells could potentially be "reprogrammed" to pattern themselves to many types of human tissue.

Additionally, the immunity cells found in breast milk have been found to survive a baby's digestive process and could possibly be used to provide a method of developing targets to conquer certain bacteria and viruses.

Dr. Cregan recently presented his findings to 200 of the world's leading experts in the field. He stated, "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." If this is found to be the case, the stem cells in breast milk will provide science with an ethical method of harvesting stem cells for research.

About the author

Jo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
http://loftymatters.com - Current Events
http://winemaiden.com - Simply Abundant Living



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