Baby Formula Associated with Childhood Leukemia

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This week at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, University of Texas graduate student Jeremy Schaw presented findings from a study which suggest that for every month an infant received formula feeding, that infant's odds of developing pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) went up.

To reach this conclusion, Schaw and his colleagues studied 142 children with ALL ranging in age from less than a year up to 14, and compared them with matched controls of 284 children. The study focused on various aspects of formula feeding, breastfeeding, and introduction of solid foods as well as their relationship with ALL.

An additional month of formula feeding was found to be associated with a 16% increase in the relative risk of ALL compared with the controls. Every additional month of delay in the start of solid foods increased the odds by 14%.

"One explanation for this co-risk may be that it's the same effect being picked up twice," said Schaw. "Children being given solid foods later may be receiving formula longer."

ALL is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in children. This is not the first study to hint at an association between infant feeding practices and ALL development.

Source: Med Page Today

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