Supplemental formula could reduce the risk of allergy

A team at St Mary’s Hospital in London is recruiting pregnant women to take part in a study (PATCH) to ascertain whether supplementing breast-fed babies with special hydrolised formula (in which the proteins have already been broken down) and which includes prebiotics, will help to reduce the incidence of allergies amongst these babies.

The researchers emphasise that all the mothers in the trial will be encouraged to breast feed but that since a significant proportion of mothers do introduce formula within the first few months of the baby’s life, they want to find a formula that will reduce the negative impact of introducing formula early.

The children in the study will be followed up regularly for 18 months as around 70% of children who are to develop an allergy (usually eczema) will have done so by 18 months.

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February 2009

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