(Iron supplemented formula milk related to reduction in psychomotor decline in infants from inner city areas: randomised study) BMJ Volume 318 13 March 1999 pp693-8
An iron supplemented formula milk rather than cows' milk should be provided to inner city children who are not being breast fed, say researchers in this week's BMJ. Dr Jane Williams et al from Birmingham Children's Hospital, along with colleagues from The Northern Birmingham Community Trust and the University of Birmingham, report that this would help to prevent iron deficiency anaemia and the resultant reduced development in these children.
According to the authors, iron deficiency anaemia is common in infants living in inner cities who are given unmodified cow's milk during their first year. Based on a sample of 100 children living in the centre of Birmingham, the authors found that giving an infant an iron supplemented formula milk for the first 18 months of life not only prevents anaemia but also reduces the decline in developmental performance that was observed in those given only cows' milk.
In an accompanying commentary, Stuart Logan from the University College London Medical School argues that the evidence of a causal link between iron deficiency and developmental difficulties is still unclear and that further research in this area is urgently needed.
Professor Ian Booth, University of Birmingham, Institute of Child Health, Birmingham email@example.com
Stuart Logan, Director, Systematic Reviews Training Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London Medical School, London firstname.lastname@example.org