Human Milk Banks
This is the second call I am making for the need for this new development in all our maternity hospitals. I hate the situation of motherless infants and infants whose mothers have less milk than they need. They need milk banks. Mothers who have more than needed milk could (should) donate that to a bank in the hospital that might need it to feed premature babies. Some people (the wise ones) thought I was crazy. Now, new research shows the benefits of human milk for babies. Mothers who have ‘extra’ breast milk can donate it to the banks, after undergoing a screening process that includes blood tests for diseases like HIV and hepatitis. The milk is pasteurised, like any other milk. The practice may boost breast-feeding and reduce dangerous gut infections. Researchers have found that the number of California hospitals offering donor breast milk rose substantially between 2007 and 2013—from about 21% of all new-born intensive-care units (NICUs) to 41%.
Concurrently, breast-feeding incidence has been going up—another boon to children. “Infants also were less likely to develop a potentially dangerous gut infection called necrotizing enterocolitis,” according to findings published online 22nd February in the journal Paediatrics. With pre-term babies, breast-feeding might be a challenge. But, often, women can’t express enough milk. In those cases, donor breast milk is considered the next-best option. Hospitals get that milk from non-profit milk ‘banks’.
BP Lowering Drugs Dangerous for Diabetics?
How prophetic was my observation, years ago, that too much lowering blood pressure (BP) in diabetics might not be a good idea! Now comes a bombshell in the British Medical Journal. The researchers—including Mattias Brunström of the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University in Sweden—found that anti-hypertensive drugs may increase the risk of cardio-vascular death for diabetes patients with a systolic blood pressure under 140mm/Hg.
The American Diabetes Association recommends a target of less than 140mm/Hg systolic for patients with type-2 diabetes, though a target of less than 130mmHg is recommended for some patients, if it can be achieved safely. The team conducted a meta-analysis of 49 randomised controlled trials involving a total of 73,738 participants that looked at the cardio-vascular outcomes of people with diabetes on anti-hypertensive medications. The subjects were followed-up for at least 12 months.
The researchers found that participants whose BP was higher than 140mm/Hg before treatment had a reduced risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and all-cause mortality. Among subjects whose BP was less than 140mm/Hg prior to anti-hypertensive treatment, however, no cardio-vascular benefits were identified. In fact, these participants were found to be at greater risk of cardio-vascular death.
Alcohol in Pregnancy
Even a small amount of alcohol in pregnant ladies would put the foetus at risk of alcoholism for three generations. Many of the teen problems in the world could have emanated from pregnant mothers consuming alcohol. “Factors affecting teen drinking habits are varied and complex. They include the desire to engage in risk-taking and rebellious behaviour, as well as the wish to impress and to sustain popularity among peers.” We must start a movement to advise pregnant mothers to keep away from alcohol.