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June 18, 2001

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Hugo, Minnesota, USA:

My nine month old son's father has type 1 diabetes, and I would like to know what information is currently available to help prevent my son from developing diabetes. I have read about exposure to milk proteins as a possible trigger. I have breast-fed my son until now, but am ready to wean him. Are the milk proteins also present in formula? Is there enough evidence to warrant giving him soy formula and/or milk, rather than cow's milk? Are there any other foods, vaccinations or other exposures that should be avoided?

Answer:

I think the jury is still out on the exact triggers for type�1 diabetes. There does seem to be an association with an infection or illness and subsequent development of diabetes. Breast feeding for the first year can possibly be beneficial, but I do not think anything is proven, especially not beyond the first year.

LSF