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From a physician in Reykjavík, Iceland:

Recent research (in Finland and New Zealand) and our experience in Iceland indicates that betakasein A1 in cows' milk might have effect on juvenile diabetes in children. The Icelandic dairy cattle have been isolated for almost 1000 years and the content of this protein in the Icelandic cows' milk is much lower than in the cows' milk of our neighbour countries. The people in these countries are genetically similar. New cases each year of juvenile diabetes in Icelandic children 0-14 years old are 10/100.000; in Norway and Sweden comparable figures are about 25/100.000 and in Finland 35/100.000. In both countries, the content of this particular protein in cows' milk is much higher than in Icelandic cows' milk. Please comment on this. Is there research of this possible connection going on in your country?


I think that it is probably true to say that in the U.S. there has been much more research emphasis on immunomodulatory approaches to the prevention of Type 1A Diabetes and to the better identification of at-risk children. In addition there have been some studies, the preliminary figures from DAISY for example, that have failed to implicate cows' milk as an environmental trigger to the autoimmune process. Nonetheless the paper by Elliott et. al. in Diabetologia last year [1999] which showed an especially close relationship with cows milk containing betacasein A1 + B and the commentary by Rosenbloom et al. in the February J.Clin.Endo & Metab this year [2000] indicate that attitudes are changing.


Original posting 18 May 2000
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention


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