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Biomimetic Breast: Understanding The Mechanics Of Breastfeeding

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To understand the mechanics of breastfeeding many efforts are going on worldwide. Scientists and researchers are various components of science and technology to understand it. Biomimetic Breast is the outcome of mechanics, hydrodynamics, and biology to get a deeper knowledge of infant feeding mechanism. Breastfeeding is an age old topic of debate that keeps evolving discussions and controversies across the globe. But still, there are many questions about its biology that seek answers. For example, people still want to know if successful infant feeding is dependent on the mechanics of the breast. Moreover, if there is a direct correlation between breast health and breastfeeding? On these grounds, in fact, virtually it is difficult to answer such questions. Therefore, it becomes very important to research these complex dynamics and the intrinsic interplay that is the driving factor behind breastfeeding. Biomimetic Breast is one such scientific approach.

A couple of researchers are on this job together creating a Biomimetic Breast. It will allow scientists and researchers to study various aspects of breastfeeding. For instance, how the breast behaves while performing its primary role i.e. infant feeding. Nicole Danos is an assistant professor of biology at the university of San Diego, conducting research on this topic. Rebecca Z German is her collaborator who is a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at Northeastern Ohio Medical University. The two scientists are working together to fill the gap in the understanding of breastfeeding mechanics.

Biomimetic Breast & Breastfeeding

Nicole is presenting the work at the 69th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics in Portland, Oregon during 20-22, 2016. The concept is important to understand. It is the mechanics that controls milk production. In fact, there is already an underṣtanding of the mechanics and flow. As a matter of fact, this builds a protective function against cancer. Rebecca’s work involves providing substantial enhancements in our understanding of how newborns and infants coordinate sucking, breathing, and swallowing. Her work also involves insights on the most common neurological traumas of the head and neck in infants.

While all above is in knowledge, insights are missing about the understanding of the paired mother-infant interaction. Because it is important to learn how important the gland’s anatomy and mechanical properties are to infant feeding. Also, how, in turn, infant feeding controls lactation. That is why the development of a biomimetic breast is critical. As this will help in the study of this very basic biological function.

A biomimetic breast is a replica in terms of form, structure, and function of a lactating breast. “The strength of our approach, though, lies in the use of the breast device with an animal model of infant feeding along with cutting edge imaging techniques to visualize both milk flow and the function of soft and hard structures in the infant mouth and larynx,” says Danos. “Our research could even lead to the design of infant feeding devices that closely mimic natural breastfeeding allowing other caretakers, like dads, to feed infants without the limitations of bottle feeding which can be especially critical for infants with health problems,” Danos concludes.

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