Breastfeeding CHAMPS prelaunch program meeting and mini-symposium

Elevated mammary epithelial permeability & effects in established lactation

Human milk has major health benefits for infants. Beyond nutrients, breast milk contains antibodies for immunity, growth factors associated with gut epithelial maturation, bacteria for establishment of the gut microbiome, and metabolites from the bacteria that modulate inflammation. 

Unfortunately, many parents aiming to breastfeed cease or start supplementation earlier than planned due to perceived low milk supply. Increased mammary epithelium permeability (MEP) is a physiologic condition that may affect milk secretion, composition and infant health. However, little is known about MEP during established lactation and this is a core focus of our studies. We recently reported that elevated MEP among US women is more common across lactation than previously recognized. We posit that elevated MEP results in altered milk nutrient content, shifted inflammatory profiles and milk microbiome composition impacting the infant gut immune profile and microbiome.

We are enrolling 400 mother-infant dyads from New Mexico and Massachusetts prioritizing Indigenous, Black and Asian American recruitment.

February 2024 start up meeting for Breastfeeding CHAMPS researchers

Breast feeding champs researchers meet for launch of the study on mammary epithelial permeability

NIH funds for the project were released in the Fall of 2023. The key investigators having been staffing up the project and working on essential resources that have to be in place before any participants can be recruited to the project. Some key elements were preparing questionnaires and getting them approved by units managing protection of human subjects at each of the institutions in Massachusetts and New Mexico where the researchers are based. The teams from the two States came together February 27 & 28 at UMass Amherst. This was the first opportunity for new staff from Albuquerque NM and Springfield MA to meet in person, adding to online interactions.

Ready to recruit nursing parents & infants for studies of elevated mammary epithelial permeability

Its been a big effort to create surveys for participants and ‘beta test’ them for usability. These  were created in the HIPPA compliant secure platform REDCAP  and will generally be accessed on phones or tablets using MyCap which is available for both iOS and Android devices. Surveys will normally be done independently by Moms but there will also be home visits that include weighing and measuring babies along with picking up milk and stool samples for future analysis. Participants will provide bilateral milk and infant fecal samples at four timepoints spanning transitional, early milk and mature milk. One activity at our February meeting was to try out and roleplay the scripts for visits, and then begin to revise them for better usability. 

Breast feeding champs researchers meet for launch of the study on mammary epithelial permeability


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