The role of OPN in early life

You may have already heard about Osteopontin or OPN?

OPN is a protein, specifically a phosphorylated glycoprotein, that is found in body tissues including bone and body fluids such as human milk. It plays important roles in immune, brain and gut development during early life.

How?

OPN increases the proportion of circulating T cells and the balance between T1 and T2 which are essential for the removal of pathogens.Milk OPN passes the blood-brain barrier increasing brain OPN levels.

Milk OPN has also been shown to have an impact on the function of intestinal development in preclinical models;

Furthermore, OPN can also be found in colonic mucosa of supplemented mice, where it has a protective effect against colitis.

Learn more

https://binc-geneva.org/en/video/opn-osteopontin/

 


Health research

Apply to our BINC Grants program 2021!

Biostime Institute for Nutrition and Care (BINC ) stimulates innovation and precompetitive academic research towards maternal and infant health.

Every year, BINC research grants provide financial support for innovative research projects from scientists based in high-ranking universities, hospitals and leading academic institutions.
The grants are up to 50,000 euros per project for pre-clinical research and up to 100,000 euros per project for clinical research.
Applications for 2021 are now open and due on 31 March 2021.

Apply here


Babies healthy eating habits

The first two years of life are a key period to establish healthy eating habits. This means teaching him to eat healthy foods and in the right amount, neither too much nor too little. Eating just what he requires will promote adequate growth while maintaining healthy body weight.

It may seem difficult to know how much he needs, after all, he is growing and changing every day and so his needs. The good news is your baby already knows how much he should eat! With a bit of practice, you can learn to read his signals.

While feeding at the breast, the baby has greater control over the time and duration of the feedings, he learns to recognize the signals of satiety and decides when to stop eating.  Either to deliver breast milk or infant formula, bottle feeding is a very common practice nowadays. An adequate bottle-feeding can also support the natural learning of satiety that occurs during infancy. A caring interaction between the baby and the parent, as well as the choice of an adequate bottle, are very important to achieve this objective.

« it is important that your baby learns to stop eating when he is feeling satiated, this will help him maintain a healthy weight in the future »

Reading your baby’s signals

Your baby has many ways to communicate with you. Since he was born you’ve learned to differentiate when he is tired, when he is hungry or when he needs a diaper change.  During his feeding time it is important to pay attention to the signals of hunger and satiety and act on them by initiating or stopping the feeding. This is called ‘responsive feeding’ and it is key on determining the final amount that the bottle-fed baby drinks.

Every little one is different, and you will learn the signals of your baby. To help you start, here are some common cues of hunger and satiety

Hunger- means ‘start or continue with the feeding’

Baby-caregiver gaze

Adoption of feeding posture

Mouth opening

Sucking sounds

Reach toward the parent

Satiety- means ‘I had enough now’

Avoids gaze

Back arching

Spits out the nipple/ slow or stop sucking

Falls asleep/ distracted

Turns head away

« It is important that your baby learns to stop eating when he is feeling satiated, this will help him maintain a healthy weight in the future »

The feeding system

The oral movements of the breast-fed and the bottle-fed baby are very similar. They consist in the jaw and tongue making suction (generation of negative pression in the mouth) and compression of the bottle nipple by the tongue against the hard palate. When drinking milk, the baby needs to synchronize suckling, swallowing and breathing. The nipple and bottle characteristics such as the material hardness, shape and hole size can affect the flow rate and total milk intake. A flow rate that is too slow leads to fatigue and inadequate intake and if it is too fast, it results in a greater milk volume delivered and the baby needs to adjust its suckling-breathing pattern. Signs of fast flow rate include milk drooling, breathing anomalies and can result in milk aspiration.

« The bottle and teat characteristics can affect milk flow rate and intake »


References

Kotowski, J., C. Fowler, C. Hourigan and F. Orr (2020). "Bottle-feeding an infant feeding modality: An integrative literature review." Maternal & Child Nutrition 16(2): e12939.

Lau, C. (2015). "Development of Suck and Swallow Mechanisms in Infants." Annals of nutrition & metabolism 66 Suppl 5(0 5): 7-14.

Shloim, N., C. Vereijken, P. Blundell and M. M. Hetherington (2017). "Looking for cues - infant communication of hunger and satiation during milk feeding." Appetite 108: 74-82

 


5 new selected research projects in 2020

In the framework of the BINC funding programme 2020, we are proud to announce that, five new scientific projects were selected for preclinical and clinical research.

These researches were selected amongst 84 high-quality projects from scientists based in European universities, hospitals or leading academic institutions.

Microbiota

Waligora-Dupriet, A.J. (Université de Paris). Impact of preterm microbiota on the gut-lung axis and health. 

Infant Brain Development

Sizonenko, S. (University of Geneva, CH). Lactoferrin for neuroprotection in term neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy.

Child Nutrition and obesity

Philipps, C. (University College Dublin, Ireland). Predictors and associations of childhood dietary inflammation with obesity.

Sandi, C. (EPFL, Lausanne, CH). Therapeutic potential of the nutraceutical nicotinamide mononucleotide to treat earlylife stress induced emotional and metabolic alterations.

Women’s Heath

O’Leary (APC Microbiome, University of Cork, Ireland). Sex matters! The role of maternal gut microbiota in shaping increased susceptibility of females to stress-related psychiatric disorders.


Maternal health insights by Dr. Jodi Pawluski

In the context of Mental Health day, we interviewed one of our BINC funded researchers, Dr. Jodi Pawluski, on mental health issues in relation to maternal health, a critical period corresponding to pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal in a mother’s life.

Let’s discover – with our expert neuroscientist, therapist and mother of two- how mental maternal health is a major issue worldwide.

Why is maternal health so important & what health problems do women face currently?

For the majority of new parents that transition to parenthood is a wonderful experience highlighted by feelings of joy and fulfillment. However, a significant number of pregnant and postpartum women (and men too) can struggle with mental health issues. These mental problems can have enduring effects on maternal health, mother-infant interactions, and later child development. In addition, the financial burden to society of maternal mental illness is remarkable – for example in the United Kingdom the known cost of peripartum mental health problems per year’s births is £8.1 billion.

How does research contribute to enhance maternal health issues?

The most common maternal mental illnesses involve anxiety and depression, with studies around the world indicating that at least ~8-12% of pregnant and early postpartum women suffer from an anxiety disorder and at least 10% face depression. These rates are staggering and what’s even more troubling is the fact that we have very few treatment options specifically available for maternal mental illnesses. With the ever-changing maternal physiology throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period increased research on maternal mental health is needed to better target and treat maternal mental illnesses.

How does it affect children’s lives on a short-term and mid-term basis?

Of course, the mother is not alone in her transition to becoming a parent and we must consider the mother-infant dyad, especially when maternal mental illness occurs. For decades we have known that early life factors, such as postpartum depression, can affect the developing child. In fact, far more research has been done on how maternal mental health affects the developing child than on how maternal mental health affects the mother. Hopefully, moving forward in research and policies we will see the value in understanding maternal mental illnesses and the mechanisms behind these illnesses to develop strategies to treat and ultimately prevent poor health outcomes for both mother and child. This is why BINC is so important – as it focuses on advancing science in maternal and infant health.

In the current pandemic situation, how can we enhance maternal health conditions?

The pandemic has drastically changed the lives of mothers in particular, as they are often the primary care-givers. We see the mental illnesses are on the rise, not only in mothers but in the general population. The constant stress of the pandemic in our lives is difficult to control but one thing that can be helpful is to focus on what we can control in our homes and our lives. Also focusing on what is important now (and not tomorrow or next week) can also help to feel less overwhelmed. I heard a saying once that goes like this: Focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase. As moms, sometimes that is all we can or need to do.

As a researcher, would you have some advice, health recommendations for mothers?

In terms of health recommendations for mothers who are pregnant or postpartum – eating well and getting a bit of exercise are always beneficial. These things can change our brains! Spending time with friends can also be incredibly healthy – even if it has to be virtual. And if you need time alone, ask for it. Your partner or a close friend or family member can take the kids for a while.

If you find you are struggling with anger, anxiety or depression, reach out for help. There is always someone who can support you. Postpartum Support International is a great place to start.

Keep in mind that mental health is physical health. One exists in the context of the other.

 

About



Jodi Pawluski a Researcher at the Irset (Institut de recherche en santé, environnement et travail) at the Université de Rennes 1, France.

She has over 60 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and regularly presents her research findings at national and international conferences. Her research has been supported by funding from agencies such as the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD 2015) and Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Belgique) and presently is funded by Institut des Neurosciences Cliniques de Rennes (INCR) & BINC (Biostime Institute For Nutrition and Care).

Her early research has focused on understanding how motherhood impacts hippocampal plasticity, cognition, and related physiology in the maternal brain. Over the past decade, she has expanded this research program to focus on how stress and antidepressant medications during the perinatal period alter maternal brain, behavior and offspring outcomes.

Jodie is on the editorial board for Archives of Women’s Mental Health (Springer), Journal of Neuroendocrinology (Wiley), Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy (Elsevier), and Frontiers in Global Women's Health. She is also a Fellow of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society.

*For more information related to her research

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=pawluski

www.jodipawluski.com .


Maternal health insights by Dr. Jodi Pawluski

In the context of Mental Health day, we interviewed one of our BINC funded researchers, Dr. Jodi Pawluski, on mental health issues in relation to maternal health, a critical period corresponding to pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal in a mother’s life.

Let’s discover – with our expert neuroscientist, therapist and mother of two- how mental maternal health is a major issue worldwide.

Why is maternal health so important & what health problems do women face currently?

For the majority of new parents that transition to parenthood is a wonderful experience highlighted by feelings of joy and fulfillment. However, a significant number of pregnant and postpartum women (and men too) can struggle with mental health issues. These mental problems can have enduring effects on maternal health, mother-infant interactions, and later child development. In addition, the financial burden to society of maternal mental illness is remarkable – for example in the United Kingdom the known cost of peripartum mental health problems per year’s births is £8.1 billion.

How does research contribute to enhance maternal health issues?

The most common maternal mental illnesses involve anxiety and depression, with studies around the world indicating that at least ~8-12% of pregnant and early postpartum women suffer from an anxiety disorder and at least 10% face depression. These rates are staggering and what’s even more troubling is the fact that we have very few treatment options specifically available for maternal mental illnesses. With the ever-changing maternal physiology throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period increased research on maternal mental health is needed to better target and treat maternal mental illnesses.

How does it affect children’s lives on a short-term and mid-term basis?

Of course, the mother is not alone in her transition to becoming a parent and we must consider the mother-infant dyad, especially when maternal mental illness occurs. For decades we have known that early life factors, such as postpartum depression, can affect the developing child. In fact, far more research has been done on how maternal mental health affects the developing child than on how maternal mental health affects the mother. Hopefully, moving forward in research and policies we will see the value in understanding maternal mental illnesses and the mechanisms behind these illnesses to develop strategies to treat and ultimately prevent poor health outcomes for both mother and child. This is why BINC is so important – as it focuses on advancing science in maternal and infant health.

In the current pandemic situation, how can we enhance maternal health conditions?

The pandemic has drastically changed the lives of mothers in particular, as they are often the primary care-givers. We see the mental illnesses are on the rise, not only in mothers but in the general population. The constant stress of the pandemic in our lives is difficult to control but one thing that can be helpful is to focus on what we can control in our homes and our lives. Also focusing on what is important now (and not tomorrow or next week) can also help to feel less overwhelmed. I heard a saying once that goes like this: Focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase. As moms, sometimes that is all we can or need to do.

As a researcher, would you have some advice, health recommendations for mothers?

In terms of health recommendations for mothers who are pregnant or postpartum – eating well and getting a bit of exercise are always beneficial. These things can change our brains! Spending time with friends can also be incredibly healthy – even if it has to be virtual. And if you need time alone, ask for it. Your partner or a close friend or family member can take the kids for a while.

If you find you are struggling with anger, anxiety or depression, reach out for help. There is always someone who can support you. Postpartum Support International is a great place to start.

Keep in mind that mental health is physical health. One exists in the context of the other.

 

About



Jodi Pawluski a Researcher at the Irset (Institut de recherche en santé, environnement et travail) at the Université de Rennes 1, France.

She has over 60 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and regularly presents her research findings at national and international conferences. Her research has been supported by funding from agencies such as the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD 2015) and Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Belgique) and presently is funded by Institut des Neurosciences Cliniques de Rennes (INCR) & BINC (Biostime Institute For Nutrition and Care).

Her early research has focused on understanding how motherhood impacts hippocampal plasticity, cognition, and related physiology in the maternal brain. Over the past decade, she has expanded this research program to focus on how stress and antidepressant medications during the perinatal period alter maternal brain, behavior and offspring outcomes.

Jodie is on the editorial board for Archives of Women’s Mental Health (Springer), Journal of Neuroendocrinology (Wiley), Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy (Elsevier), and Frontiers in Global Women's Health. She is also a Fellow of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society.

*For more information related to her research

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=pawluski

www.jodipawluski.com .


Transcriptional frameshifts contribute to protein allergenicity

This breakthrough research conducted by the Genomic Clinical Synergy Group (Genclis) published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, (Clin Invest. 2020;130(10):5477-5492. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI126275) reveals the patented mechanism of the Infidelity transcription, a process by which differences in RNA and DNA sequences are analysed to identify translated proteins capable of causing the production of either immunoglobin E, the antibody responsible for most forms of allergies or Immunoglobin G. This process helps the identification of errors in the copy of DNA and RNA allowing the induction of the allergic antibody lgE.

The discovery of a common cause for allergens paves the way for the prevention and treatment of allergies.

Research Abstract:

Transcription infidelity (TI) is a mechanism that increases RNA and protein diversity. We found that single-base omissions (i.e., gaps) occurred at significantly higher rates in the RNA of highly allergenic legumes. Transcripts from peanut, soybean, sesame, and mite allergens contained a higher density of gaps than those of nonallergens. In mice, recombinant TI variants of the peanut allergen Ara h 2, but not the canonical allergen itself, induced, without adjuvant, the production of anaphylactogenic specific IgE (sIgE), binding to linear epitopes on both canonical and TI segments of the TI variants. The removal of cationic proteins from bovine lactoserum markedly reduced its capacity to induce sIgE. In peanut-allergic children, the sIgE reactivity was directed toward both canonical and TI segments of Ara h 2 variants. We discovered 2 peanut allergens, which we believe to be previously unreported, because of their RNA-DNA divergence gap patterns and TI peptide amino acid composition. Finally, we showed that the sIgE of children with IgE-negative milk allergy targeted cationic proteins in lactoserum. We propose that it is not the canonical allergens, but their TI variants, that initiate sIgE isotype switching, while both canonical and TI variants elicit clinical allergic reactions

Publication

* This publication is produced by a research group that includes the biotechnology company Genclis (Genomic Clinical Synergy).

*H&H group is collaborating with Genclis in other innovation projects.

 


How does the brain develop?

The brain is one of the body's most complex organs and is at the centre of our nervous system. Exploring how the brain functions is necessary to be able to understand overall human health, which is why brain development is one of BINC key areas of expertise.

 Brain cells communicate

The brain is made of billions of brain cells called neurons that communicate with each other through specialized connections called synapses. A single neuron may contain thousands of synapses. The connections are not static and change over time. The more neurons connect with each other, the stronger the connection grows.

 Learning and practice

  • Learning changes the physical structure of the brain. Learning reinforces the connections between neurons.
  • Recurring experiences also strengthen the connections in the brain.
  • Like a muscle, brain can grow stronger and connections can disappear if unused.

The Brain grows fast:

The formation of new neurons and synapses is fastest at birth and throughout childhood as the brain learns to understand the world around.

Few facts 

A 4-week-old fœtus forms new neurons at a rate of 250’ 000 every minute.

From birth to the age of 3 a child sees the fastest rate of brain development of his entire life span.

At age 3 the brain has reached 80% of its adult size.

Check out this infographic to understand more about the basics of how the brain functions.

Brain development infographics

 


Webinar "DHA and ARA infant feeding: How they came to be regarded as conditionally essential?"

Join our webinar "DHA and ARA infant feeding: How they came to be regarded as conditionally essential?"
In this webinar Professor Tom Brenna, will explain long-chain PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) roles in infant nutrition, showcasing the major studies outcomes in this topic.

 

Watch the webinar


BINC at FASEB international Research Conference

BINC sponsored the FASEB international Science Research Conference held in West Palm Beach Florida from 21 to 26 July in presence of the leading scientific experts in the human milk research.

Key science players representing academic, clinical, industrial, and government organizations shared the latest research and scientific outputs around “The Origins and Benefits of Biologically Active Components in Human Milk”.

This sponsorship strengthens BINC and H&H research presence towards the Human milk science research globally.