Saturday, February 26, 2011

Breastfeeding: the lost art

"The deeper you can manipulate living structures the more you can control food and medicine."
--Dr. Vandana Shiva

The more we pursue the dream of the magic bullet to cure all ills, the more illusive the dream. Science pursues knowledge of the mammary gland and tears apart each living component. There must be one thing in human milk that is the cure. Through microfiltration and powerful microscopes we probe and prod to find the one magical component that controls health and well-being. Reductionism is a scientific illusion of understanding because ultimately nature is a matrix of multiple actions and reactions. Change one small thing and sometimes a monster of a problem is created. So our science thinks it can work at the molecular level without ramification. We are brave and reckless explorers of the inner realm of cell life. Even far worse for life on this planet, is that this science has become part of the corporate world of profit and monopolization. I feel what Dr. Vandana Shiva writes in regard to India and the monopolization of seed and the threat to human diversity is also what is happening with the monopolization of human milk components. It is a threat to the survival of breastfeeding. Human milk is as diverse as the people of this planet. It is the rightful genetic inheritance of each child. Yet we are willing to let our scientists grab it, manipulate it, and pronounce discovery. Yes, discovery, what the heck is that? Women have known for thousands of years, that breastfeeding was survival of their infants. Mother to daughter through generations of diverse cultures, have taught what now seems unteachable: the art, faith, and value of breastfeeding. The infant formula industry spreads doubt, injects its "scientific" understanding of its products, in a power grab for more customers. Human milk research has become the foundation of the infant formula industry. Breastfeeding advocacy will go no where without understanding how seriously undermined breastfeeding has become because human milk is now a commodity of interest to the medical, food, and infant formula industries.

There is a new patent called, "Oligosaccharide compositions and use thereof in the treatment of infection," patent # 7893041, filed in 2004, just published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (February 22, 2011). The inventors are Ardythe L. Morrow, David S. Newburg, and Guillermo M. Ruiz-Palacios and the patent is owned by the Children's Hospital Medical Center (Cincinnati, Ohio), Instituto Nacional De Ciencias Medicas Y Nutricion (Mexico), and the University of Massachusetts. Human milk banks are great providers for research.

"The oligosaccharides agents can also be added to other compositions. For example they can be added to infant formula, a nutritional composition, a rehydration solution, a dietary maintenance or supplement for elderly individuals or immunocompromised individuals."

Human milk was studied and they found: "Thus specific combinations of oligosaccharides are expected to be effective in treating and preventing cholera, Campylobacter diarrhea, calicivirus diarrhea, Candida albicans infection, HIV infection, and other disorders."

and, "Human milk may be considered a natural and efficacious 'nutriceutical,' ie., a model food that conveys immunologic benefits."

They aren't using real human milk oligosaccharides. They will genetically engineer them by using yeast, or some pathogen (e.coli). So because human milk is known to treat and prevent these diseases (gee to bad the CDC doesn't know this, maybe policy would be changed regarding HIV positive mothers being "allowed" to breastfeed), our scientists jump to the conclusion that using a component(s) of human milk genetically engineered will do the identical thing. Yeah, good luck on that.

So here we are, a public misinformed regarding infant feeding. And here are human milk researchers creating gmo human milk components for the infant formula industry and the pharmaceutical industry. The patent states in the beginning:
"Consumption of human milk is one of the most cost-effective strategies known to medicine for protecting infants against morbidity and mortality due to infectious disease."

Consumption of human milk...what is that? Not breastfeeding, welcome to the 21st century!
Copyright 2011 Valerie W. McClain


  1. Very insightful in so many respects at so many levels. Makes me want to go out and do something about it.

    Do you happen to know where I can find patent attorneys that specialize in neonatal, newborn or breast feeding inventions and dental technology intellectual property?

    Inspired by your example and words,
    Hillary Hempen