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    Soy Formula Funded Study Declares Soy Formula "Safe"…Go figure!

    June 19, 2008 •  7 comments.

     •  Blog, Uncategorized

    A University of Melbourne study funded by Nestle Corporation, the makers of Nestle’s Good Start Supreme Soy Formula, is highlighted in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and declares that “soy consumption is not a risk factor for peanut sensitization”.

    Would you expect a study funded by a corporation that makes soy infant formula to say anything else?

    According the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), ” funding for the initial development of the Melbourne Atopy Cohort Study was provided by Nestlé Australia”.

    However, as highlighted in the JACI, results of the Melbourne study also state: “Children whose parents elected to introduce soy formula or soy milk into their children’s diet were more likely to be sensitized to peanuts at 2 years (odds ratio, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.04-3.92; P = .039 – which statistically means that 95 percent of the time, the children that were fed soy as infants were two times more likely to have developed a sensitivity to peanuts by the age of the age of two).”

    AllergyKids encourages parents to review results in the New England Journal of Medicine, Factors Associated with the Development of Peanut Allergy in Childhood, which addresses the correlation between soy formula and peanut allergy in which Dr. Gideon Lack and his team conclude: “Peanut allergy was independently associated with the intake of soy milk or soy formula” (odds ratio, 2.6; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 5.2 – which statistically means that a child fed soy is 2.6 times more likely to develop a peanut allergy 95 percent of the time).

    Therefore, in reviewing this Univeristy of Melbourne study funded by Nestle Corporation, AllergyKids urges caution before accepting the assertion of the 23 year old PhD student who states that “the good news for parents is that they can now feed their children on soy milk and not have to worry about getting peanut allergies.”

    AllergyKids would like to suggest to the 23 year old PhD student who conducted this study that she consider the work of Dr. David Ludwig and his colleagues at Harvard University whose research addresses the “Relationship Between Funding Source and Conclusion Among Nutrition-Related Scientific Articles“:

    Conclusions: “Industry funding of nutrition-related scientific articles may bias conclusions in favor of sponsors’ products, with potentially significant implications for public health.”

    Independently funded studies and research are critical when it comes to protecting the health of our children.

      7 Responses to “Soy Formula Funded Study Declares Soy Formula "Safe"…Go figure!”

      1. Kelly

        Love the website, but want to point out a misrepresentation of the following statistical results. …”“Peanut allergy was independently associated with the intake of soy milk or soy formula” (odds ratio, 2.6; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 5.2 – which statistically means that a child fed soy is 2.6 times more likely to develop a peanut allergy 95 percent of the time).” The results don’t mean that a child fed soy is 2.6 times more likely to have a peanut allergy 95% of the time, but that we can expect children fed soy to be 2.6 times more likely to have a peanut allergy, and that we’d be right about that 2.6 figure in 95% of cases. A confidence interval of 95% just means that you are 95% confident that your predicted results will be correct.

      2. Rebecca

        While I agree with your skepticism, I feel you’re being unnecessarily harsh (although as a PhD student myself I might be biased). Just because the funding came from Nestle does not make the results wrong. Furthermore, it says initial funding came from them, which probably means a small pilot study not the entire research project.

        I think the major issue here is that these are all simply correlational studies NOT experiments. Therefore, soy can not be said to ’cause’ peanut allergy. (It would be like saying eating ice cream causes drownings simply because they are correlated in time (both occur more often in the summer). There could be something fundamentally different between children who end up on Soy formula (ie. lactose intolerance) that may also predispose them to other allergies later, thus having nothing to do with soy at all.

      3. I saw your story referenced at ABC news. I wish you well in your endeavors! I am going to link your blog on mine. You state that UK moms or even citizens have been vocal against food additives. I have talked about the Monsanto problem on my blog and the GMo problem and a myriad of others. I find most readers repulsed by the fact that I address these issues. I am afraid for Americans as they don’t want to hear the message that their food is tainted. I encourage you to keep up the fight!

      4. Anthony Mason

        Hi Robyn,

        I just saw your clip on ABC News regarding food allergies. When I was five years old I was diagnosed with Epilepsy and needed medication to control my seizers. The “childs” Medicine my doctor gave me was red in color. My parents not thinking anything about it gave me the medicine. Come to find out … I was and still am very allergic to red dye. Now being an adult, my wife and I have to read every label to make sure it doesn’t have it! At restaurants, grocery stores … everywhere we go! Even something simple as yellow gum has this “red” dye! Thank you for doing what you’re doing! You’ve been a big inspiration!

      5. Hawkins

        “Children whose parents elected to introduce soy formula or soy milk into their children’s diet were more likely to be sensitized to peanuts at 2 years (odds ratio, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.04-3.92; P = .039 – which statistically means that 95 percent of the time, the children that were fed soy as infants were two times more likely to have developed a sensitivity to peanuts by the age of the age of two).”

        / The Australian says…
        Until now researchers thought there might be a link between the use of soy products and the development of the sometimes fatal peanut allergy. But the new study shows the association between soy consumption and peanut allergy is coincidental.

        “It occurs because parents whose children are already at higher risk of peanut allergy — due to family or personal history of cow’s milk allergy — are more likely to give their children soy,” Ms Koplin said.

        http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23881786-30417,00.html

        What I think Ms Koplin did was reinterpret the results of a former study (while in the process of conducting a seperate one), which used the correlation as evidence of cause and effect. It was something which came up in the course of the study, not the point of the study itself, so saying

        “Would you expect a study funded by a corporation that makes soy infant formula to say anything else?”

        is a bit rich. Even moreso, considering Jennifer Koplin’s government- awarded Fresh Science award (with peer review of scientific achievements among the selection criteria), which seems like a vote of confidence from a suitably independant source.

        It’s all a lot more sound than you’ve made it appear, and I doubt either the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute or Ms Jennifer Koplin herself are exactly likely to spout junk science likely to put children in any kind of risk.

        I agree about the importance of independant research, evilness of corporate- funded think tanks and companies like Monsanto and all that jazz. But I do think it’s mostly the CEI and similar groups which screw around with science to fit an ideological viewpoint, and I disagree that the source of funding of a scientific institute necessarily means bias in the results.

        I disagree that you can use her age as an argument against the validity of the study, like you seem to be implying. Cheap shot, not to mention clearly a logical fallacy.

        I don’t see the relevance of citing Dr. Gideon Lack’s article, when it’s Ms Koplin’s research which puts some of the results of this study into question, not the other way around.

        More broadly, I’ve got a problem with the presumptuous way you’ve interpreted the whole issue. In my mind, the problem with corporate- funded think tanks, research, or whatever, is the interpretation of all issues or evidence through a certain ideological worldview- which obviously means bias of the worst sort and a complete inability to view anything according to the merits of individual cases.

        So how, exactly, are the blind assumptions you’ve made about this study any better?

      6. jodi

        I’m just frustrated. I have so many questions and the answers I research just get me more frustrated. I’m know I’m not alone in this matter but I wish it was possible to get the correct and helpful information from one of the three doctors/allergists we have seen.

        I have a four year old who is severely allergic to dairy. With that I have an infant that I was told should be breastfed or given soy formula for the first year in case of a severe allergy. With saying that, I am no longer able to brestfeed and I keep reading all about the dangers of soy products. Now I have two children that I’m not sure what to give them. ANY helpful info would be appreciated!!!!

        Oh and for the RAW milk, how would I go about finding a trusting supplier??

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