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Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Giving newborns cows milk to save them from allergies later on"

I read an article yesterday posted on a parenting forum and just about blew a gasket.  The article was entitled:
Early milk exposure may cut allergies in infants
"Exposing an infant to cow's milk in its first 15 days of life may protect it from a dangerous milk allergy later on, new research suggests.
The new findings are a slight departure from the recent advice of medical authorities such as Health Canada, who recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, "as it provides optimal nutritional, immunological and emotional benefits for the growth and development of infants," according to the federal department.
Researchers found that when babies were exposed to cow's milk, in the form of baby formula, in the first 15 days after birth, they seemed to be protected from developing an allergy to milk protein later in life. In a prospective cohort study, they tracked 13,019 infants and found that those who consumed formula early on were 19 times more protected from cow's milk protein allergy, or CMPA, than babies who consumed formula after the first 15 days."
 WTF?!?!  Every alarm bell in my head went off and I immediately went digging for a copy of the original study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  Guess what I found....?  Come on, guess?
 "Supported by the Israel Dairy Board.
 Disclosure of potential conflict of interest: Y. Katz has received research support from the Israel Dairy Board."
 I was going to go all ballistic and rant and rave about it.... but then another friend pointed me to this blog by The Analytical Armadillo, and she said it all, so I'll leave you in her capable hands:

Give cow's milk to newborns, you're having a giraffe?

Cow’s milk good for newborns.

Mothers who feed their babies cow’s milk in the first 15 days of life may be protecting their children from dangerous allergies later on, says a new study.
Perplexed I read on:
Women who regularly (daily) introduced their babies to cow milk protein early, before 15 days of life, almost completely eliminated the incidence of allergy to cow milk protein in their babies.
 says Prof. Yitzhak Katz of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Pediatrics, Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

Before he is apparently quoted as saying in one article:
Although the exact amount is still unknown, the paediatrician suggests a single bottle-feed at night for those mothers who are breastfeeding.
Now perhaps I'm overly cynical, but at this point alarm bells started ringing.  Any paediatrician with a sound breastfeeding knowledge (which one would surely assume essential to make a public statement such as this) would know the well documented effects of cow's milk protein entering the gut of a breastfed baby.

Secondly, given they claim the exact amount is unknown, making a suggestion to "give a single bottle daily" is highly unusual; not least because it contradicts worldwide recommendations which are based on extensive evidence.

So I decided to dig out the study.

The first thing I noticed?  The bottom of the study reads:

Supported by the Israel Dairy Board.

Aaah now thing are becoming clearer.  I then discovered Prof Katz - the one up there making statements, has declared a potential conflict of interest. 

Y. Katz has received research support from the Israel Dairy Board

aaaaah, bingo!  Let's think who might benefit if mothers introduced a bottle of cow's milk per day- wouldn't happen to be the dairy industry would it?....

HERE to read the entire article on Analytical Armadillo

 ... I'm going to keep on digging because I KNOW that Nestle has to be involved in this some way.... call me a conspiracy theorist.