Jess Bobkin - The Lactation Station
The artist invites audiences to taste samples of pasteurized human breast milk donated by six lactating new mothers, inviting a dialogue about this challenging and most intimate of motherhood rites.
Presented by Fado and co-presented by the Ontario College of Art & Design
Photos by David Hawe
Heath Benefits of Drinking Breast Milk
A 59-year-old American has been drinking breast milk for the past four years in a bid to fight cancer.
Howard Cohen hopes it will boost his immune system and help him fight off his prostate cancer.
The California's Mothers' Milk Bank in the US says it has supplied about 28 adults with doctors' prescriptions in the past four years.
But cancer experts are sceptical and say there is no evidence that it works and might be risky for patients. That is because drugs and viruses can be transmitted through breast milk, they said.
Mr Cohen, who has a PhD in theoretical physics, read up on his cancer when he was diagnosed in 1999 and came across a piece of literature by scientists who had killed cancer cells in the laboratory using an ingredient of breast milk.
The team at Lund University in Sweden found a compound, called human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumour cells, killed brain tumour cells in the test tube.
Further studies showed the same compound appeared to treat warts caused by a virus linked to cancer of the cervix.
"My wife breast-fed all of our children and we are great proponents of its benefits.
"Breast-fed babies have lower risks of cancer, allergies and infections than babies who are not breast-fed."
He found a milk donor through an ex-colleague.
"His wife was nursing an eight month old, and she herself was a cancer survivor. She agreed to pump her breast milk for me.
"A bottle a day"
"For the next 11 months I was getting milk from her. I would go over about once a week and get the frozen milk. For a while I was drinking a 3.5 ounce bottle a day.
"When she decided to wean her child, my wife and I looked for another source."
They approached the California Milk Bank, which agreed to sell them the milk with a prescription.
Mr Cohen said his urologist refused to prescribe the milk.
He went to see other doctors who also refused him, but eventually found an internist with an interest in alternative medicine who wrote the prescriptions.
He now drinks about two bottles per week and hopes to cut back more, but plans to drink it for life.
"I see it as an adjunct to the vitamins and minerals that I take.
He says he is convinced that it is doing some good.
He said he refused to have surgery, radiation or hormonal therapy because he did not want to risk the potential side effects.
"They will always be available to me if the mother's milk doesn't work forever and it comes to that," he said.
When asked what it tastes like, he said: "It doesn't taste all that pleasant. It's a bit oily and there's an after-taste.
"I mix it with fruit and tofu and yoghurt into a smoothie to mask the taste as well as get other good things into my diet."
Cancer specialists in the US and the UK said there was no proof that breast milk could help cancer patients.
[redacted big pharama opinion confessing inability to understand why it works, by Dr John Stevens of the American Cancer Society and opinion of David Kerr, professor of clinical pharmacology and cancer therapeutics at Oxford University, who does confesses there are are "a tiny number of anecdotes" that back up the theory..ed]
Pauline Sakamoto from the Mothers' Milk Bank in California said: "Part of it could be placebo effect.
"No one really knows. It's an area that needs a lot of study.
"Some patients truly believe this is the way to go for their cancers."
Gillian Weaver, of the UK Association for Milk Banking, welcomed more research.
She said even if there were evidence in the future that it did help, resources of donor milk in the UK were so scarce that the priority would be for premature and sick babies.
Ice Cream Parlor Debuts Breast Milk Flavor
LONDON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A London ice cream parlor said its latest "totally natural" flavor, "Baby Gaga," is made with breast milk donated by nursing mothers.
The Icecreamists parlor said the ice cream, which comes in a martini glass for $23, contains Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest in addition to breast milk donated by women, including Victoria Hiley, 35, of Leeds, England, the International Business Times reported Friday.
"What's the harm in using my assets for a bit of extra cash?" Hiley told the online newspaper. "There's nothing more natural than fresh mother's milk."
The Times said 15 mothers have agreed to donate their milk to the parlor at $24 for every 10 ounces.
Matt O'Connor, 44, owner of the Icecreamists, said he expects "Baby Gaga" to be popular with customers.
"No-one's done anything interesting with ice cream in the last hundred years," O'Connor said. "Some people will hear about it and go 'yuck,' but actually it's pure, organic, free-range and totally natural."
However, Miriam Simun of New York said she faced a great deal of skepticism when she debuted a similar product, cheese made from breast milk, the New York Daily News reported.
"Human cheese is initially a pretty shocking concept to most people," she said. "I understand the visceral reaction -- drinking milk from a woman other than your mother is a pretty big taboo in many cultures."
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2011/02/26/Ice-cream-parlor-debuts-breast-milk-flavor/UPI-35131298709000/#ixzz2PVJHi537
Immune Factors Found in Human Milk
Chondroitin sulphate (-like)
Free secretory component
Gangliosides GM1-3, GD1a, GT1b, GQ1b
Glycolipid Gb3, Gb
Glycoproteins (sialic acid-containing or terminal galactose)
Lactadherin (mucin-associated glycoprotein)
Milk cells (macrophages, neutrophils, B & T lymphocytes)
Mucin (muc-1; milk fat globulin membrane)
Nonimmunoglobulin macromolecules (milk fat, proteins)
(Tri to penta) phosphorylated beta-casein
Prostaglandins E1, E2, F2 alpha
Secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (antileukocyte protease; SLPI)
Sialyloligosaccharides on sIgA(Fc)
Soluble bacterial pattern recognition receptor CD14
Soluble intracellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1)
Soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1)
Xanthine oxidase (with added hypoxanthine)
© Breast Milk Therapy