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Studies on iron metabolism. V. Further observations on cow's milk-induced gastrointestinal bleeding in infants with iron-deficiency anemia


Studies on iron metabolism. V. Further observations on cow's milk-induced gastrointestinal bleeding in infants with iron-deficiency anemia



Journal of Pediatrics 84(3): 335-344



ISSN/ISBN: 0022-3476

PMID: 4544180

DOI: 10.1016/s0022-3476(74)80713-4

By means of a sensitive radioisotopic technique and alternating periods of controlled diet, 17 of 34 infants with Fe-deficiency anaemia were shown to have abnormal occult gastrointestinal blood loss which was induced by whole cows' milk (WCM), was commonly associated with hypoproteinaemia, and was ameliorated or stopped by substituting the cows' milk with soya or proprietary milk formulae. In 8 subjects the WCM-induced bleeding did not diminish despite Fe therapy so long as WCM was ingested. Limited studies directly implicated bovine serum protein as a probable inciting agent and also demonstrated a correlation between the amount of milk ingested and the degree of bleeding. Follow-up studies on 4 of the subjects with previous WCM-induced bleeding suggested that the phenomenon may be transient, occurring in infancy, and likely related to development of gastrointestinal immunity. The relative incidence of such WCM-related haemorrhage has not been established, but appears to occur in approx. half of young children with Fe-deficiency anaemia who are ingesting more than or equal to 2 pints homogenized-pasteurized cows' milk daily.

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Accession: 000204885

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