Saturday, August 31, 2013

Research ... for the sake of research or the good of humanity?

Tucked away in my Sydney university Alumni Magazine I found this little snippet. After four years, the good Professor Ralph Nanan and his research team at the Sydney Medical School Nepean could say that during pregnancy, the immune cells of the mother and her baby are highly synchronised. In other words, mothers program their babies’ immune system. 

WOW, whoever would have guessed? But when oh when are we going to see researchers take the big bold step of ensuring a really large cohort of women (and their preconception partners) achieve optimal nutritional and immune status prior to the start of their pregnancy and then maintain it? 

I don’t care about the mechanism, what I want to see is the application! It all starts here 
And while we’re on the subject of re-inventing the research wheel. Long-term EU funded research with 1000+ EU-based children has found ‘early nutrition programming’ can deliver significant health benefits later in life – including big reductions in obesity. But how many more studies do we need? More to the point, how can we stop the insidious rise and rise of the use of infant formula? Because if we don’t stop it, the developing nations like India and China will be hurtling down the path to Western levels of obesity in a fraction of the time that it took the western population to get there. Then they’ll be stuck with massive health care costs to treat obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and all the other co-morbidities.

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