A Melbourne, Australia scientist believes he has made a breakthrough when it comes to the development of premature babies. He claims that wallaby milk could be a vital source of much needed nutrients for underdeveloped children. No, I’m not making this up. One of the dangers of children being born as premmies is that their gut may not have formed properly, making it difficult from them to absorb the nutrients from breast milk or formula. Professor Kevin Nicholas from Deakin University’s Institute for Technology, Research and Innovation reckons that tamar wallabies milk may contain the necessary nutrients to strengthen the babies gut.
The gestation period for a pregnant wallaby is just 26-weeks as compared to nine-months of a human. When a baby joey is born, it’s still developing. After birth it crawls up it’s mother’s body and finishes it’s development stages inside her pouch. Nicholas has made note of this and has linked the underdeveloped joeys with underdeveloped babies. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
“What the [wallaby] mother does during a very long lactation is change the composition of milk progressively, and we know those changes in composition are very important for driving development of the young and of course the gut is a major target,” said Professor Nicholas.
“It’s really those changes in composition that are so important… and we can target those and we can then identify, particularly proteins, that we think are important for developing the gut.”
Isn’t science a wonderful thing? I mean really, how ruddy clever. Now they’re not suggesting that you latch your premature baby to the teet of a mothering wallaby, but they’re going forward with the research as they try to identify the proteins that make the milk so effective. Professor Nicholas’s research stems from a $100,000 AUD grant, and if he can prove his concept work, the Melbourne researcher could be provided up to $1 million dollars to continue his research.
Now for a couple of gratuitous wallaby/baby jokes.
“The milk will certainly put a spring in their step.”
“It’ll help to make them healthy bouncing babies.”
I’m sorry, those were awful. If you have anymore, feel free to post them in the comments section!