Navigation Links
Special Infant Formula Might Help Shield Babies from Type 1 Diabetes

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Offering your baby a special formula when weaning off breastfeeding may offer some protection against the development of the antibodies associated with type 1 diabetes, if you have a family history of the disease, new research suggests.

When Finnish researchers randomly assigned 230 babies at high risk of type 1 diabetes to receive either a regular infant formula, or one that was extensively hydrolyzed -- which means the proteins in the formula are already partially broken down and more readily available for digestion -- they found that the extensively hydrolyzed formula cut the rate of developing diabetes-linked antibodies in the blood by about half.

"We observed that early dietary intervention [with extensively hydrolyzed formula] decreased the frequency of diabetes-associated autoantibodies, which are markers of an ongoing disease process, by about 50 percent by the age of 10 years," said the study's lead author, Dr. Michael Knip, a professor of pediatrics at the Hospital for Children and Adolescents in Helsinki, Finland.

The results of the study were published in the Nov. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means the body's immune system mistakenly turns against healthy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, instead of a foreign material, such as bacteria. No one knows for sure what causes this process to begin, but some research suggests that the initial autoimmunity may begin early in life.

Five immune system autoantibodies have been linked to type 1 diabetes. Having one of these antibodies isn't a guarantee that you'll develop type 1 diabetes, but it does indicate an increased risk for the disease. People who have two or more type 1 antibodies have between a 50 and 100 percent risk of developing type 1 diabetes, according to background information in the study.

Previous research has suggested that breastfeeding may offer some protection against the development of these antibodies, possibly because breastfeeding delays the introduction of infant formula, which contains complex proteins. Formula may somehow trigger the development of autoantibodies as these proteins are broken down for digestion.

The current study was randomized and double-blind (meaning neither the parents nor the researchers knew who was getting what), and compared regular baby formula to one that was made easier for babies to digest because the proteins were broken down (extensively hydrolyzed).

Babies were offered the formula during the first 6 to 8 months of life, any time breastfeeding wasn't available. They were then followed till they were about 10 years old, according to the study.

After adjusting the data to try to account for the duration of exposure to one of the study formulas, the researchers found that the extensively hydrolyzed formula reduced the risk of having one diabetes autoantibody by 49 percent, and the risk of having two or more autoantibodies by 53 percent.

How the highly hydrolyzed formula might reduce the risk of developing diabetes-predictive antibodies is unknown, but the researchers speculated that it might contribute to reduced gut permeability or changes in gut microflora, among other things.

According to Knip, the take-home message from the study is that "it is possible to reduce considerably the initiation of the diabetes disease process in at-risk children in a simple and safe way: weaning to an extensively hydrolyzed formula." He added that, "based on the current results, we think that it is justified to recommend weaning to a highly hydrolyzed formula for babies in families with a member affected by type 1 diabetes."

Not everyone agreed with that notion, however.

"The data in this study is not sufficiently strong to support recommending any changes for parents," said the author of an accompanying editorial, Dr. David Harlan, co-director of the Diabetes Center of Excellence at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

"I think the authors designed this study to address their hypothesis that proteins present in non-hydrolyzed formula might incite an immune response, and by breaking them down, you might eliminate the immune response. But, there are quite a few steps between that and how the immune system or diabetes are triggered," added Harlan's editorial co-author, Dr. Mary Lee, a professor of pediatrics and cell biology and chief of the pediatric endocrine division at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center.

"I think this is an important study because we need to understand what causes type 1 diabetes," said Harlan, who added the caveat: "In this study, while there is an apparent signal, there are also some causes for withholding complete faith in the conclusion that the formula caused diabetes."

Both Lee and Harlan stressed that there is currently no definitive evidence to suggest that the use of standard cow's milk formulas leads to an increased incidence of diabetes compared to breastfeeding. The hydrolyzed formula is also considerably more expensive than standard formula, experts point out.

More information

Learn more about type 1 diabetes from the American Diabetes Association.

SOURCES: Michael Knip, M.D., Ph.D., professor, pediatrics, the Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki, Finland; David Harlan, M.D., William and Doris Krupp Professor in Medicine, and co-director, Diabetes Center of Excellence, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, and professor of medicine and pediatrics, and Chief, Diabetes Division, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Mass.; Mary M. Lee, M.D., professor of pediatrics and cell biology, and chief, pediatric endocrine division, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, Mass.; Nov. 11, 2010 New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Special skin keeps fish species alive on land
2. Hospital for Special Surgery scientists share advances in lupus and related conditions
3. Aging Pets Need Special Care: Expert
4. Womens unique connection to nature is explored in special issue of Ecopsychology
5. Telementoring may address need for surgical subspecialty expertise in remote locations
6. OncologyPRO: Unique portal for cancer specialists
7. Parkinsons disease: Excess of special protein identified as key to symptoms and possible new target for treatment with widely used anti-cancer drug imatinib
8. Medical profession needs special training to handle self-harm, says international review
9. Some Fake ADHD to Get Meds, Special Treatment
10. Disasters especially tough on people with disabilities, mental disorders
11. Study of cell division sheds light on special mechanism in egg cells
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Special Infant Formula Might Help Shield Babies from Type 1 Diabetes
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... , ... recently awarded their highest five-star rating to Best Buy Eyeglasses, ... the United States and Canada wear eyeglasses. Once considered to be a purely functional ... a fashion statement. Even celebrities use glasses as a way of creating an iconic ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a weight loss fitness plan that ... the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, , All ... They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise program , ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users can easily ... of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 hand-drawn pictures ... . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or text in ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a matter of indulgence ... high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who set the bar ... from reveals that behind the tendency to set low expectations is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The ... in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to support its ... PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... KNOXVILLE, Tenn. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market providing less invasive and more durable cerebrospinal ... million in funding.  The Series-A funding is led ... the Lighthouse Fund, and other private investors.  Arkis, ... less-invasive neurosurgical instrumentation and the market release of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by removing ... thus the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s electrolytes ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare expenditure ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic Chemical), ... Parenteral) - Global Forecast to 2021" report to ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to reach ... 6.1% in the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: