New Paper Series: Human Milk Composition and Child Growth and Body Composition in the First 2 years.
THRiVE lab members have published a large systematic review involving over 25 authors who screened nearly 10,000 papers about human milk and child growth. Published in Advances in Nutrition, the project “Human Milk Composition and Child Growth and Body Composition in the First 2 Years: A Systematic Review” explores current evidence to help us better understand the link between human milk components and child growth from birth to age 2 years. Due to the large number of research studies in this area, results have been organized into three manuscripts dedicated to (1) human milk macronutrients, (2) human milk micronutrients, and (3) human milk biologically active (bioactive) components. This study was led by MILC Co-Director Dr. Meghan Azad together with former MILC postdoctoral fellows Dr. Merilee Brockway and Dr. Sarah Reyes. Read the full series here: Bioactive Components [PDF], Micronutrients [PDF], and Macronutrients [PDF].
THRiVE Lab members published "The Protective associations of breastfeeding with infant overweight and asthma are not dependent on maternal FUT2 secretor status" in Frontiers in Nutrition. This article follows up on previous THRiVE research to address the question: is breastmilk from non-secretors (a genetic trait carried by ~20% of people) inferior to secretor milk? By re-analyzing data showing beneficial associations between breastfeeding and infant growth as well as childhood asthma, the new study demonstrates that these relationships persist regardless of maternal secretor status. The findings suggest that secretor and non-secretor mothers can equally promote respiratory health and infant growth through breastfeeding. The study was led by THRiVE co-director, Dr. Meghan Azad together with lab members Dr. Melissa Manus and Stephanie Goguen. Read the full article [PDF] and check out Dr. Azad's [Tweetorial] on Twitter.
Narges Khodabandehloo, Dr. Payam Peymani, Rilwan Azeez, Affan A. Sher, Dr. Meghan Azad, Spencer Ames, Natalie Rodriguez, Dr. Larisa Lotoski and Sarah Turner (left to right)
Big congratulations to Spencer Ames, an MSc student in the THRiVE lab, for successfully defending his thesis about "Investigating the relationship between infant feeding practices and inflammation-associated biomarkers of one-year-old infants in the CHILD cohort study". It's been great to see Spencer's growth and success as a researcher in the THRiVE Discovery Lab. We're thankful for all he's contributed to the lab and wish him the very best in his future endeavors!
MILC Club Members expressed their thoughts on breastfeeding to support World Breastfeeding Week 2023 (#WBW2023). This annual celebration takes place from August 1 to 7 each year since 1992, commemorating the 1990 Innocenti Declaration. Discover ways to #ProtectBreastfeeding by visiting worldbreastfeedingweek.org.
THRiVE lab and MILC co-directors, Meghan Azad & Natalie Rodriguez, are spearheading the breast milk component of the pioneering Children Growing Up in Liverpool (C-GULL) study, supported by the Welcome Trust's Discovery Research and Mental Health programs. C-GULL marks a significant milestone as the UK's first biomedical birth cohort study in 17 years. Under the leadership of Professor Louise Kenny and her team at the University of Liverpool, the C-GULL study will closely monitor the well-being of 10,000 first-born babies and their families in Liverpool, from the early stages of pregnancy into adulthood. Researchers will collect comprehensive data on various health aspects, social circumstances, and environmental exposures. To enhance data accuracy, the study will use innovative health technologies, including wearable devices and mobile applications, to track real-time health indicators.
Within this transformative project, Dr. Meghan Azad and colleagues assume a pivotal role in analyzing breast milk samples to shed light on the intricate relationships between childhood experiences, breast milk composition, and long-term health outcomes. Dr. Azad's expertise and leadership bring invaluable insights into this crucial aspect of the study.
Read more here!
The IMiC Consortium, co-directed by Meghan Azad & Natalie Rodriguez, held its first in-person meeting from June 18-20, 2023, in Ghent, Belgium. After 3 years of virtual collaboration, researcher finally convened for three impactful days of brainstorming and knowledge exchange. The Yalo Boutique Hotel and Het Pand served as venues for a hackathon, discussions, and presentations, bring researchers closer to unraveling the secretes of breastmilk. Universiteit Gent graciously hosted the event, which marked a significant step forward in understanding complexities of breastmilk. With renewed enthusiasm, the consortium eagerly awaits the groundbreaking results to emerge from this collaborative effort. Stay tuned for more updates from IMiC as they continue their pioneering research in the field of breastmilk!
Congratulations to THRiVE Lab and MILC co-director, Dr. Meghan Azad, on being announced as the 2023 Janet Rossant Lecturer at the Massey College. The Janet Rossant Lectureship was established in 2018 at Massey College in recognition of Dr. Rossant’s distinguished career as a scientist, scholar, builder and mentor of young scientists. Date to be determined.
THRiVE lab and MILC co-director, Dr. Meghan Azad, speaks with CTV News Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press on the benefits of breast milk and how the research being conducted by Dr. Azad and colleagues is focusing on examining breast milk as a biological system, understanding all of its components, and how it can have implications for public policy that supports breastfeeding mothers and makes babies healthier. More information about the news coverage can be found on CTV News Winnipeg and Winnipeg Free Press websites.
THRiVE Discovery lab and MILC co-directors, Dr. Meghan Azad and Natalie Rodriguez, receive a grant of US$2.5 million from the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH), the national medical research agency in the United States. Since NIH prioritizes research in the US, only uniquely qualified Canadian researchers are awarded this grant. This grant will fund the five-year Multi-omics Milk (MuMi) Study. This MuMi study aims to leverage and unite two well-established human milk research platforms: the International Milk Composition (IMiC) Consortium, a network of researchers and data scientists co-led by Dr. Azad and Rodriguez, and the CHILD Cohort Study, a project deputy-directed by Dr. Azad that is following a large cohort of Canadian children born in 2009-12, to investigate human milk and its determinants and health impacts among 1600 mother-infant dyads using a novel multi-omics approach. Read more about it in the news from the UM Today Network here.
THRiVE lab and MILC co-director, Dr. Meghan Azad, was interviewed on the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) radio Babytalk podcast in 2021. In this podcast, Dr. Azad highlighted the importance of breastmilk as an incredible source of nutrition for the baby and how her research on the developmental origins of chronic diseases is exploring the influence of breastmilk on the future health of the babies. Listen to the full podcast here.
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