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Feeding babies better

Public lecture to discuss role of infant diet on food allergies

Campus and Community

By Kelly Foss

A free public lecture on the St. John’s campus will shed light on the connection between infant nutrition and food allergies.

Dr. Catherine Field is a professor in the Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Science at the University of Alberta. She will give the fourth annual Faith Elizabeth Winifred (Rusted) Bayley Nutrition Lecture on May 15.

Reducing food-related allergies

“An infant’s immune system develops early in life and one of the most important functions is the ability to learn how to tolerate foods in their diet,” she said. “Failure to develop immune tolerance results in in food allergies.”

There is an increasing incidence of food-related allergies in infants and Dr. Field believes diet is likely one of the causes.

“Breast feeding reduces the risk of developing allergies, but recent studies have suggested there are foods and nutrients mom can eat while breast feeding that can improve immune tolerance and even further reduce the chance her child will develop a food allergy,” she said.

Research talk

Dr. Field’s free public lecture, Can We Feed Our Babies Better to Prevent Allergies?, will take place Tuesday, May 15, at 7 p.m. in the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation, room IIC-2001.

In addition, she will deliver a research seminar geared toward a scientific audience titled, Evidence for the Use of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) in the Treatment of Breast Cancer, on Wednesday, May 16, at 1 p.m. in the Education building, room ED-1014.

Dr. Field’s research program centres on the effect of nutrition on the development of the immune system and the role of specific fatty acids in the treatment of breast cancer. She is co-principal investigator for the large maternal infant cohort, Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition, or APrON, and has published more than 240 peer-reviewed papers.

Dr. Field currently serves on the International Life Sciences Board of trustees, is an associate editor for the American Society for Nutrition review journal Advances in Nutrition and is the current vice-president and incoming president of the American Society for Nutrition.

The Faith Elizabeth Winifred (Rusted) Bayley Nutrition Lecture is hosted by the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science. It was established by a bequest from Dr. Nigel Rusted in memory of his sister, a dietitian and high-ranking RCAF squadron leader in the Eastern Air Command during the Second World War.

The lecture series is also part of Memorial University’s inaugural Research Week. A full schedule of activities is available online.

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