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Hydrolysed Casein Formula may Slash Eczema in Infants

Infant formula containing hydrolysed casein proteins reduced the development of eczema by 33 per cent, says a three-year study// from Germany.

"The 3-year results of this large-scale, prospective, randomized, double-blind trial clearly confirm the concept that the risk for [atopic dermatitis] AD but not for early asthma can be reduced by nutritional intervention in infants at high risk for allergic diseases," wrote lead author Andrea Von Berg in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

"The strength of the preventive effect seems to depend on the type of formula used as well as on the compliance with the feeding recommendations in the first 4 months of life."

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AD), is one of the first signs of allergy during the early days of life and is said to be due to delayed development of the immune system. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists it affects between 10 to 20 percent of all infants, but almost half of these kids will 'grow out' of eczema between the ages of five and 15.

The researchers, from Marien-Hospital Wesel, Ludwig Maximilians University, Neuherberg's Institute of Epidemiology, and Technical University of Munich, recruited 2252 newborns with a family history of allergy and assigned them to one of four intervention groups: formula containing only cow's milk (control), or formulas with partially hydrolyzed whey, extensively hydrolyzed whey, or extensively hydrolyzed casein.

Cow's milk proteins, which are the most widely used in routine infant formulas, are the most common allergen in infancy, so the study examined formulas in which the proteins were broken down to decrease the chances of allergy.

The German Infant Nutritional Intervention Study (GINI) found that after three years, the partially hydrolyzed whey formula and the extensively hydrolyzed casein formula reduced the period prevalence of eczema by 48 and 47 per cent, resp
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