Press Esc to close
Thursday 24 July 2014
News updated at 2:59 AM IST
Weather
Max: 27.9°C
Min : 21.3°C
In Bangalore
Sunny day

Formula food toxic for premature baby's cells

Washington, Dec 11, 2012, PTI:

Unsafe feed

Infant formula causes cellular death that may contribute to  necrotising enterocolitis, a severe intestinal condition that is often fatal and occurs most commonly in premature infants, says a new study.

University of California San Diego bio-engineers, based their study on tests comparing the digestion of fresh human breast milk and nine different infant formulas.

Scientists have long known that premature infants fed formula are more likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis than those fed breast milk.

The condition is the leading cause of death from gastrointestinal diseases in premature infants, but the underlying mechanism has not been understood, the journal Paediatric Research reported.

Alexander Penn, working in the Microcirculation Lab of Geert Schmid-Schonbein, bio-engineering professor from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, believes they have come closer to an answer, according to a California statement.
The intestines of healthy adults and older children have a mature mucosal barrier that may prevent damage due to free fatty acids.


However, the intestine is leakier at birth, particularly for pre-term infants, which could be why they are more susceptible to necrotising  enterocolitis.

Therefore, the researchers wanted to know what happens to breast milk as compared to infant formula when they are exposed to digestive enzymes.

Overwhelmingly, the digestion of formula led to cellular death, or cytotoxicity - in less than five minutes in some cases -  while breast milk did not.

For example, digestion of formula caused death in 47  percent to 99 percent of neutrophils while only six percent of them died as a result of milk digestion.

The study found that breast milk appears to have a built-in mechanism to prevent cytotoxicity.

The research team believes most  food, like formula, releases high levels of free fatty acids during digestion, but that breast milk is digested in a slower, more controlled, process.

Currently, many neonatal intensive care units are moving towards formula-free environments, but breastfeeding a premature  infant can be challenging or physically impossible and  supplies of donor breast milk are limited.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A relative of a passenger on board the crashed TransAsia Airways plane cries in Kaohsiung...

A relative of a passenger on board the crashed TransAsia Airways plane cries in Kaohsiung...

Rescue workers survey the wreckage of TransAsia Airways flight GE222 which crashed...

Rescue workers survey the wreckage of TransAsia Airways flight GE222 which crashed...

Priyanka Chopra during the unveiling of trailer of the film ''Mary Kom'', in Mumbai...

Priyanka Chopra during the unveiling of trailer of the film ''Mary Kom'', in Mumbai...

Artists perform during the launch of Philips and Disney imaginative lighting range in New Delhi...

Artists perform during the launch of Philips and Disney imaginative lighting range in New Delhi...

People watch as pyres burn at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi...

People watch as pyres burn at a cremation ground on the banks of river Ganges in Varanasi...

Villagers cross the river Baitarani in a country boat after the same was flooded following...

Villagers cross the river Baitarani in a country boat after the same was flooded following...

Philipp von Sahr, President, BMW Group India with the newly launched BMW Active Hybrid 7...

Philipp von Sahr, President, BMW Group India with the newly launched BMW Active Hybrid 7...

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu distributing food grains to poors...

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu distributing food grains to poors...

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnatik creates a sculpture on girl child abuse with a message...

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnatik creates a sculpture on girl child abuse with a message...

Lightning on a thunderstorm  crackles over the mountains just south of Tollgate, Ore...

Lightning on a thunderstorm crackles over the mountains just south of Tollgate, Ore...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523