‘GOT MILK?’ NOT AN IDLE QUERY
Breast Milk Is ‘Liquid Gold’ for Infants, Hinde Says

Dr. Katie Hinde speaks at NIH.
Dr. Katie Hinde speaks at NIH.

Mother’s milk does so much more than just feed a baby. Along with fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, it also supplies hormones, stem cells and immune factors that help protect babies from disease-causing organisms, explained Dr. Katie Hinde at a Wednesday Afternoon Lecture recently in Masur Auditorium.

“Because of these myriad functions, breast milk is considered liquid gold and breastfeeding is a gold standard that’s advanced by many national and international bodies that guide public health and medical decision-making,” said Hinde, an associate professor at Arizona State University’s School of Human Evaluation and Social Change.

Mother’s milk may prevent, treat or cure many of the world’s infant health problems such as obesity and diarrhea, the leading cause of child mortality, she said.

Most of what’s known about breast milk comes from research on dairy cattle, mammary gland dysfunction, the development of breast milk substitutes like formulas and from evolutionary biology. Until recently, there has been relatively little research on what’s actually in breast milk.

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IN TOUCH
‘Wearables’ Shed Light on Brain, Behavior

Dr. Rosalind Picard
Dr. Rosalind Picard

From cell phones to wristwatches, technology is getting smarter and smaller. For one engineer, a project that began with a cumbersome wearable computer evolved into small sensors in glasses and hats that could interpret facial expressions. These innovations paved the way for even smaller sensors embedded in wristbands that measure emotional peaks. It’s life-changing technology for patients with autism, epilepsy and depression and has the potential to ameliorate the effects of other medical conditions.

“We’re now able to make outwardly observable something that previously was only inwardly happening,” said Dr. Rosalind Picard, founder and director of Affective Computing Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and faculty chair of MIT’s Wellbeing Initiative Mind+Hand+Heart. Picard—who spoke to a packed room at a recent NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series lecture in the Neuroscience Center—co-founded two companies, Empatica, Inc. and Affectiva, Inc., which build the affect-sensing and wearable devices.

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