Low B-12 concentrations in Kenyan women’s breastmilk

Congratulations to Dr. Anne Williams and co-authors! Our manuscrhome_coveript “Breastmilk vitamin B-12 concentrations are low and are not associated with reported household hunger, recent animal source food or vitamin B-12 intake among women in rural Kenya” has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Nutrition. We found lower than average dietary B-12 intake and breastmilk B-12 concentrations in lactating Kenyan women. This has important policy and programmatic applications for maternal health and child development.

NIH digs our water insecurity ideas!

In the course of our formative work in Kenya on food insecurity (cf. Pith Moromo, below), we discovered that household level water insecurity seems to be an unappreciated source of adverse physical and mental health. As such, it brought me great pleasure that the Young Group received the official notice of award today for our R21 application entitled “Health Consequences of Water Insecurity for HIV+ Women.” We are excited that we will be able to continue to work with our birth cohort in Kenya, to explore the experiences of water insecurity as well as food insecurity.

Pictured below, Godfred Boateng and Shalean Collins are holding the custom kanga that Ann Lei, an undergraduate in the Young Research Group, designed. We will be gifting these to the mothers in our cohort study with as a token of our gratitude. Maybe we will send one to our Program Officer, too!


Representing at EB 2016

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The Young Group will be bringing it hard at Experimental Biology 2016, the premier nutritional science research venue. With 6 oral presentations and 8 posters, the team is gearing up for a robust and productive conference session. We are especially proud that two of our oral presentations have undergraduate group members as first authors. Nice Formation!

SNAP Baseline survey launches

Thanks to this expert team of enumerators and anthropometry gurus, the baseline survey for the Singida Nutrition and Agroecology Project has begun! Rachel Bezner Kerr, Vicky Santoso and I had a lot of fun pitching in with the participant selection and training. We give an especially big thanks to the leadership at Action Aid Tanzania and Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology for pulling off such a major feat. (Yes, that’s us SNAPping in the photo!)




Our AJCN paper turns 100!

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According to Google Scholar, our paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in which we outline the pathways by which food insecurity can be deleterious in the context of HIV, has reached 100 citations. This paper provided important theoretical framing for our approach to understanding the consequences of food insecurity among mothers and children in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Geophagy in Uganda

Paula & GeresomuDr. Paula Pebsworth, our star primatologist post-doc, is busy setting up more camera traps (one pictured, bottom right) in Budongo Forest, Uganda. As it turns out, the chimpanzees there are wild about eating earth (as are many other species), and Paula is working hard to assess just what it is, exactly, that drives this behavior. We are fortunate to be collaborating with some terrific phytochemists, Dr. John Arnason and Dr. Chieu Anh Ta to investigate the detoxification capacity of these craved earths.

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Our paper on complementary feeding among HIV-infected Tanzanian women is out!

Congrats to Anne Williams, for her very hard work in getting this paper published in the IMG_1285Journal of Human Lactation! While breastfeeding practices have been fairly well-characterized among PLHIV, complementary feeding practices have been almost completely overlooked. Therefore, our work among women in the Pwani region of Tanzania is a useful contribution. Our data suggest that EBF is an attainable behavior, but that the very low prevalence of daily animal source food provision suggests that adequate diets are difficult to achieve after breastfeeding cessation. Well done, team! Here’s a celebratory flashback to our training back in 2011.

Household hunger is associated with failed viral suppression during pregnancy and lactation

Our paper, demonstrating for the first time that food insuffiiciency is associated with failed viral suppression during pregnancy and lactation, is out in JAIDS! In multivariate analysis, food insufficiency (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.16-0.91), higher pretreatment HIV-1 RNA (aOR 0.55 per 10-fold increase, 95% CI 0.37-0.82), and lopinavir/ritonavir versus efavirenz (aOR 0.49, 95% CI 0.24-0.96) were associated with lower odds of sustained viral suppression in a cohort of Ugandan women on ART.  Currently, only the uncorrected proofs are available, but we will post once the pretty final version is out.