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Cow's Milk Protein Linked to Diabetes

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From: C-reuters@clari.net (Reuters)
Subject: New evidence for cow's milk link to diabetes
Organization: Copyright 1996 by Reuters
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 11:50:04 PDT
LONDON (Reuter) - New evidence published Friday added weight to a controversial theory that feeding cows' milk to babies may cause them to develop diabetes in later life, the Lancet medical journal said.

Researchers from Rome and London said they studied 47 patients who had recently developed insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and found that 51 percent of them had immune cells which grew and replicated when exposed to a protein called beta caseine found in cow's milk.

Only 2.7 percent of healthy people in a control group had immune cells that reacted to the cow's milk protein, the scientists wrote in the Lancet.

``The association between IDDM and early consumption of cow's milk may be explained by the generation of a specific immune response to beta-caseine,'' said the researchers from the University of Rome and St Bartholomew's Hospital in London.

The theory says that cows' milk can stimulate a child's immune system to react to certain milk proteins which resemble proteins found on the surface of insulin-producing beta cells.

This in turn tricks the body's immune system into attacking and destroying the cells.

Earlier studies in mice specially bred to be prone to diabetes has shown that a protein-free diet prevents the onset of the disease, while a diet containing the cows' milk protein produces it.

Professor Leonard Harrison from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, said in a commentary in the Lancet that the new research proved ``the cow's milk story remains alive and kicking.''

However, he added: ``Much more research is require to define a role for immunity to cow's milk proteins in this process. In the meantime there is no justification for exacerbating cowphobia.''

This Web page is referenced from other pages containing related information about Prenatal Nutrition and Gestational Diabetes


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