Molecule Found In Breast Milk Can Stimulate Regeneration of White Matter, Study Shows

In Education

A recent study from Duke University School of Medicine has revealed a novel fat molecule found in breast milk that could potentially counter the impacts of cerebral palsy. This newly identified fatty acid has the ability to stimulate the generation of new white matter in the brain. It is important to note that white matter deterioration is linked to conditions like cerebral palsy, for which there is currently no remedy for affected infants.

Breast milk fatty molecule can treat white matter loss

The study revealed promising findings about using a specific fat molecule to treat white matter loss in infants. Researchers at Duke Health conducted experiments with neonatal mice and identified a fat molecule that can activate a process in the brain where stem cells generate new cells, leading to the creation of new white matter.

Usually white matter loss is a result of reduced blood flow in the brain and the condition can lead to neurological problems and issues with memory, mobility, and balance. Cerebral palsy is linked to damage to white matter during fetal brain development.

The recently identified lipid compound present in breast milk enters the brain and interacts with stem cells, prompting their conversion into oligodendrocytes. These cells play a crucial role in generating white matter within the central nervous system.

White matter can prevent against neurological conditions

The white matter developed in preterm infants born before the 37th week of pregnancy can protect against neurological issues that could lead to movement difficulties like cerebral palsy. Dr. Eric Benner, the study author, highlighted the significance of upcoming clinical trials while remaining hopeful about the positive outcomes.

Benner explained that creating therapies for medically fragile children is quite challenging due to the strict safety requirements. He added that the discovery of the molecule the molecule in milk that is safer for children is quite encouraging.

Researchers have discovered a specific lipid molecule in breast milk that supports the development of white matter in the brain. This finding holds promise for creating a safe therapy to enhance brain development in infants facing unique challenges.

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