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[IP] Of interest to parents of T1 kids...

Yahoo Health Headlines 
Wednesday June 14 1:34 PM ET 
Cow's Milk May Increase Child's Risk of Type 1 Diabetes
By Suzanne Rostler

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Consuming large quantities of cow's milk during 
childhood may increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes in children who 
are already genetically susceptible to the disorder, results of a study 

The team of Finnish researchers found that children who had a sibling with 
diabetes were more than five times as likely to develop the autoimmune 
disorder if they drank more than half a liter (about three glasses) of cow's 
milk a day, compared with children who drank less milk.

The study findings, published in the June issue of Diabetes, add to an 
ongoing debate over the role of cow's milk in the onset of type 1 diabetes.
``Our study is the first prospective study to suggest that cow's milk 
consumption during childhood is related to development of clinical diabetes 
in siblings of children with diabetes,'' lead author Dr. Suvi M. Virtanen 
with the University of Tampere, Finland, told Reuters Health.

However, more studies are needed to assess the possible interaction between 
genetic disease susceptibility and dietary exposures in the development of 
the disease, Virtanen added.

While it is not clear which component of cow's milk may increase risk of 
diabetes, researchers suspect that one of several proteins may be to blame, 
Virtanen explained. Similarly, it is not known how cow's milk increases the 
risk of type 1 diabetes, although Virtanen suspects that it may ``program the 
immune system in a direction favoring an immune attack against insulin 
producing cells.''

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children or in adults younger than 
30. The disorder is caused by an abnormal immune reaction that destroys the 
cells of the pancreas that produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood 
sugar. People with type 1 diabetes usually take life-long insulin injections 
to regulate their blood sugar.

The investigators looked at children who consumed cow's milk in the first 
year of life and followed up when children were age 3 to 19. Some children 
had a sibling with type 1 diabetes and were examined for a genetic 
predisposition to the disorder.

Results show that children who developed diabetes were more likely to have 
consumed at least three glasses of milk daily before entering the study. The 
number of diabetics and nondiabetics who had breast-fed for at least 2 months 
or had received some cow's milk before 2 months of age did not differ, 
researchers found.

A greater number of children who developed diabetes were genetically 
susceptible to the disease. Seventy-nine percent of these children carried a 
particular genetic variation associated with diabetes while only 30% of those 
who did not develop diabetes were found to have this variation.

SOURCE: Diabetes 2000;49:912-917. 

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