Cystic Fibrosis Gene Linked to Fatty Acids
Genome News Network
By Cheryl Simon Silver
February 20, 2004
"New research suggests that the gene that causes cystic fibrosis may affect a person' ability to metabolize ordinary fatty acids. The new information adds another piece to the complex puzzle of a devastating disease that has eluded a cure since the discovery of the cystic fibrosis (CF) gene more than a decade ago....
Freedman's finding that mice with the CF gene don't become sick until they are weaned from their mother's milk also suggests a fatty acid link. Human breast milk, like the milk from mice, is rich in DHA as well as other beneficial substances such as antimicrobial proteins. O'Sullivan has conducted a survey of mothers whose children are treated in cystic fibrosis clinics. He says there are "tantalizing hints" that breast feeding might also be beneficial for human babies who will develop cystic fibrosis. Thus, at his clinic and others, mothers of babies with the cystic fibrosis gene are strongly encouraged to breast feed. In future studies, the researchers will try to determine whether adding DHA to infant formula is equally beneficial and whether nursing mothers should take supplemental DHA..."