Dr. Azad co-authors publication on the hygiene hypothesis, COVID, and microbiome with the CIFAR HMB group
The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to affect the human microbiome in infected and uninfected individuals, having a substantial impact on human health over the long term. The CIFAR Humans & the Microbiome (HMB) group, including Dr. Azad and co-authors, share their perspectives on how COVID-19−induced societal changes could impact the microbiome, and discuss current and future challenges regarding the interplay between this pandemic and the microbiome. "The hygiene hypothesis, the COVID pandemic, and consequences for the human microbiome" was published in PNAS.
This year's Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS) Mini Virtual Conference Series will have a focus on pediatric nutrition - from the womb to the first 1,000 days of life. On February 25, Dr. Azad will be presenting on Milk & Microbes: Human milk oligosaccharides, infant gut microbiota and health trajectories in the CHILD Cohort Study. This talk will discuss CHILD research associations between human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), infant gut microbiota and atopic sensitization in breastfed infants.
A documentary based on the acclaimed book Let Them Eat Dirt by B. Brett Finlay, PhD & Marie-Claire Arrieta, PhD features research by Dr. Azad and the CHILD Study. Dr. Azad explains her data on microbes in breastmilk and why the way infants receive breastmilk matters. She also sheds light on how perceptions of breastfeeding affect all of us society-wide – not just mothers and babies.
New Paper: Azad & Arrieta Labs collaborate to study maternal consumption of artificially sweetened beverages and the infant gut microbiome
Artificial sweetener consumption by pregnant women has been associated with an increased risk of infant obesity, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. The Gut Microbes paper "Maternal consumption of artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy is associated with infant gut microbiota and metabolic modifications and increased infant body mass index", a collaboration between the Azad and Arrieta Labs, studied 100 infants from the CHILD Cohort Study. They found that overall, gestational exposure to artificially sweetened beverages was associated with gut microbiota structure in some infants, and gut microbiota structure was associated with infant BMI. Tweetorial here!
Diarrhea is a major cause of infant mortality. Azad Lab trainees Dhasni Muthumuni and Dr. Kozeta Miliku conducted this population-based study in collaboration with the ALSPAC Cohort titled "Enhanced Protection Against Diarrhea Among Breastfed Infants of Nonsecretor Mothers", published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. They found that breastfeeding by nonsecretor mothers was especially protective against diarrhea. Further understanding of this relationship could help reduce infant diarrheal mortality and improve processes for donor milk banking and provision. Tweetorial here!
A new Journal of DOHaD paper authored by Dr. Azad and colleagues using CHILD Cohort Study data explains a novel hypothesis as to why some children develop peanut allergies and others do not. "Reduced peanut sensitization with maternal peanut consumption and early peanut introduction while breastfeeding" describes this "triple exposure". When combined, infant peanut consumption, maternal peanut consumption, and breastfeeding appear to significantly reduce the risk of peanut sensitization. Check out the CHRIM press release and Tweetorial!
Human milk research presents an array of logistical and methodological challenges. The comprehensive text, Human Milk: Sampling and Measurement of Energy-Yielding Nutrients and Other Macromolecules, was written by an international group of human milk experts and addresses these challenges head-on. Dr. Azad co-authored Chapter 1, “Collection and storage of human milk for macronutrient and macromolecule analysis – An overview.” This chapter describes milk sampling strategies, milk expression methods, and the collection, storage and handling of human milk. This is Dr. Azad's first book chapter publication!
The Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Top 100 Most Powerful Women award recognize the highest achieving female leaders across Canada. Dr. Azad was among three University of Manitoba researchers named in this year’s final selection. When asked to describe what motivates her most, Azad explained, “I’m fueled by the excitement of doing cutting-edge science, and the drive to translate discoveries to make a meaningful impact on child health globally. I’m inspired by my team! Our projects are large, collaborative and transdisciplinary. We are constantly learning from and challenging each other to break new ground with our research.” Congratulations on this amazing achievement!
Drs. Azad and Brockway spoke at Preemie Power Week in November, hosted by the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation. Azad's presentation discussed "Milk and Microbes: How Breastfeeding and Gut Bacteria Shape Lifelong Health". Brockway's presentation discussed the iPOP Study, titled "Examining Trends in Global Preterm Rates During the Pandemic Lockdown". Click on either title to view the recorded presentations!
Dr Azad shares a new breastfeeding research action plan with CHRIM - tackling tensions in a contentious field of work.
Human milk and the act of breastfeeding are critical in the development and maintenance of infant and maternal health. In an interview with CHRIM, Dr. Azad described how the research in this area has greatly improved our understanding of the origins of human health but has been fraught with increased tension between the research community and breastfeeding advocate groups. The workshop, “Breastfeeding and the Origins of Health: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Priorities,” organized by Drs Azad and Nickel, gathered experts from around the world to address these issues. The proceedings from this workshop describe key barriers in breastfeeding and human milk research and present an action plan to keep this important research moving forward.
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