A special infant formula sold under claims that it reduces risk of allergies does not do so, says a new study from the Imperial College London.
The research targeted partially hydrolysed milk formula, which some manufacturers claim can reduce the risk of eczema and food allergies (specifically milk allergies) in some children. The Imperial College London reviewed 37 different trials and found no compelling evidence for the claim.
Currently, hydrolised baby formula is sold in the United States and the United Kingdom and has U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for claims that it reduces eczema risks.
The study found no statistically significant reduction of risk for milk allergy or eczema with the milk.
Dr Robert Boyle, senior author of the study from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: "Despite parents being advised these hydrolysed milk formulas may reduce the risk of conditions such as milk allergy and eczema, we found no evidence to support these claims."
Dr. Boyle's study, published in the BMJ, was funded by the UK Food Standards Agency and analyzed 37 studies involving 19,000 participants. The study found that not only were the allergy risk reductions statistically irrelevant, but that many of the studies which found in favor of hydrolised milk were done by those with financial links that may have been conflicts of interest. Methodology was also questioned in some of the studies involved. Others involved in the study also cited evidence of publication bias.