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Special formula could help ward off diabetes in babies

A research group has developed a new infant formula that could prevent the antibodies associated with type 1 diabetes when a baby is being weaned off breastfeeding .
The study, carried out by scientists in Finland, examined 230 babies at a high risk of type 1 diabetes, who were given either a normal baby formula or one that was extensively hydrolysed, so that the proteins in the formula were already partially broken down and therefore more easily digestible. It was shown that new hydrolysed formula was able to reduce the rate of developing diabetes-linked antibodies in the blood by nearly a half.
If one of the key immune system auto-antibodies linked to type 1 diabetes is present, then there is an increased risk for the type 1 diabetes; two or more has means there is between a 50 and a 100 per cent risk of developing the disease. The formula was offered when the babies were between six and eight months old and when breastfeeding wasn’t available, with the babies then being monitored up to the age of 10.
Michael Knip, lead author of the research, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, commented “We observed that early dietary intervention [with extensively hydrolysed formula] decreased the frequency of diabetes-associated auto-antibodies, which are markers of an ongoing disease process, by about 50 percent by the age of 10 years.”
He added “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 hydrolysed formula.”

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