Got milk? Human milk based fortifiers improve health outcomes for the smallest premature babies

Researchers compare traditional cows milk based fortifiers with human milk based alternative.

More than 380,000 babies are born prematurely in the United States each year, according to the March of Dimes. “Preemies” can be severely underweight babies and struggle to get the nutrients they need from breast milk alone, so neonatal intensive care units provide an additional milk fortifier, either in the form of cow’s milk or manufactured from donor breast milk, to keep them healthy.

Now, a new research study from the University of Missouri and University College in London suggests that using a human-based milk fortifier has better health outcomes for severely underweight, premature babies compared to traditional, cow-based milk fortifiers.

Headshot of Jan Sherman
Jan Sherman is a professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing.

Jan Sherman, a professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, collaborated with Alan Lucas, a professor at University College in London, to perform a meta-analysis on various studies involving more than 450 severely underweight, premature babies in the United States, Canada and Austria who received either traditional cow-based milk fortifiers or human-based milk fortifiers.

By comparing their health outcomes, they found that the babies who were fed cow milk fortifiers were more than three times as likely to develop necrotizing enterocolitis, a life-threatening intestine disease, and more than twice as likely to develop retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disorder that can lead to blindness.

“Everyone wants what’s best for these underweight, premature babies, and choosing the best type of milk fortifiers for feeding can help lead to improved health outcomes,” said Sherman. “Nearly half of neonatal intensive care units in the United States, including the one at MU Children’s Hospital, are already using human-based milk fortifiers. If we can reduce these cases of necrotizing enterocolitis, if we can preserve their eye sight and reduce the risk of infection, that will benefit the babies’ health in the long term.”

Headshot of Alan Lucas
Alan Lucas is a professor at University College in London.
 

Neonatal intensive care units can use this research in evaluating the nutritional supplements they give to severely underweight, premature babies, who have a higher risk of death or disease than babies born after a full nine-month pregnancy.

“Our research is geared toward better understanding if we can avoid cow’s milk fortifiers while still feeding premature infants well,” said Lucas. “The most current evidence suggests that a diet with entirely human milk and enriched feeds manufactured from donated human milk will meet the nutritional needs of the baby without the potential negative health effects that can come with a cow milk fortifier.”

“Safety of Cow’s Milk-Derived Fortifiers Used with an All-Human Milk Base Diet in Very Low Birthweight Preterm Infants” was recently published in Neonatology Today. Other authors include Maushumi Assad of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, John Boscardin of UC San Francisco and Steven Abrams of University of Texas, Austin.

See original story here.

New Grads! – 2020 Accelerated Class FLIP BOOK

Every semester we are proud to graduate another professionally-driven class of nurses from the Sinclair School of Nursing. This summer’s accelerated class faced many challenges, not only persevering through those challenges but also being adaptable in a time of uncertainty. They will leave our doors with everything they need to succeed and our doors remain open, – our faculty, staff and alumni are all here to support and cheer them on in this next chapter. Here are a few of our graduates and their chosen quotes of inspiration. Please join us in celebrating the talented 2020 graduates of the Sinclair School of Nursing.

Graduate Flip Book

2020 Living Legend Marilyn Rantz, PhD, RN, FAAN

It takes vision and determination to be a leader. In today’s society, leaders are all around us, but only every once in a while does one rise to the top as a Living Legend.

Every year the American Academy of  Nursing honors a small number of fellows as Living Legends. These individuals have made significant contributions to the nursing profession and made a positive impact on health care. Traditionally, their “legendary contributions” continue far beyond their own career and have a lasting impact on health care or health policy.  

Sinclair School of Nursing is honored to share that the American Academy of Nursing released this week that they have chosen our very own Marilyn Rantz PhD, RN, FAAN as one of 2020’s Living Legend. 

“Her research efforts have improved care processes, reduced costs associated with care, and improved the quality and length of life of older adults. These research-based strategies and interventions will have an impact on care delivery and the lives of older adults for years to come”, said Dean Sarah Thompson.

Marilyn Rantz, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the premier expert in quality measurement in nursing homes and research programs to improve elder care. A nurse for 50 years, Dr. Rantz’s pioneering work and innovative spirit is evidenced through the profession’s paradigm shifts in measuring nursing home quality, utilizing new technologies to help seniors live independently, and gaining fair reimbursement for nursing services. 

Dr. Rantz also initiated legislation to set the stage for nurses practicing to the full scope of their education and training and has received more than $87 million in various grants to further her work. She is Executive Director for the Aging in Place Project, which allows seniors to “age in place” through the creation of Sinclair Home Care and the Quality Improvement Program for Missouri which has transformed the care Missouri nursing home residents receive— both models being designated as Academy Edge Runners. Dr. Rantz is Curators’ Professor Emerita, University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing.

Dr. Rantz will be inducted as a Living Legend at the Academy virtual ceremony in October. 

 

To find out more about the nomination process visit: https://www.aannet.org/about/fellows/living-legends

Click Here to read the Columbia Missourian story posted 9/1/2020