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July 17, 1999

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Harrison, New York, USA:

My husband is a juvenile onset diabetic (his brother also, father adult onset). We have a 10 month old son, and have been giving him cheese, some yoghurt, and other cow's milk for 2-3 months. Our doctor said this was fine. However, I read information regarding the Coxsackie virus and the immune system fighting the viral infection off and inadvertently destroying the GAD structures. Please if you can help answer if I already did damage. When I can safely feed him cheese, milk, etc?

Answer:

I would check with your doctor, but I do not think any harm has been done.

I think you are pretty much right on schedule. We usually say formula or breast milk for the first year, but cheese and yogurt are fine to add after 6-9 months. Do not give low fat milk until after their second birthday since they need the fat in the milk.

LSF

[Editor’s comment: Research into cow’s milk as a potential environmental trigger is not conclusive. See Cow’s Milk Not Linked to Type 1 Diabetes, for example.

JSH]