Cow's Milk May Cause Type 1 Diabetes in Infants

Web MD July 23, 2001, reports on the link between infants who drank cows milk and type 1 diabetes. Finnish researcher Hans K. Akerblom, MD, at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in Philadelphia reported findings from a new study of more than 200 newborns at-risk for type 1 diabetes that suggested that feeding an infant formula made with cow's milk may up their chances of developing the disease.

The study checked infants after breastfeeding. The babies were fed a formula made either with or without cow's milk. Those fed the formula made without cow's milk were about 50% less likely to develop proteins that are associated with type 1 diabetes. Thus, Akerblom postulates, cow's milk may cause diabetes in genetically at-risk kids. Other studies have already found that infants fed cow's milk are no more likely to develop the disease than infants who are breastfed.

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Other studies show that breastfed babies may have higher IQs and stronger immune systems than babies fed with formula. Additional previous research also suggests that breastfeeding during a baby's first year may help lower the risk of gastrointestinal, or GI, tract infections, which affect the stomach and intestines, and atopic eczema, a common skin condition that affects around 10% of all infants and children.

In a timely coincidence the 11th annual World Breastfeeding Week will be celebrated from August 1-7, 2001, in countries throughout the world to increase public awareness of the importance of breastfeeding. This annual event is sponsored by La Leche League International (LLLI) and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).

More information on this event can be found on their web sites at:

La Leche League International at http://lalecheleague.org/Release/WBW01.html
World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action at http://www.waba.org.br/wbw97/wbw2001.htm