Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Diabetes...adding insulin to infant formula

The relationship between type I diabetes and infant formula is mentioned in this patent invented by Naim Shahadeh called "Insulin supplemented infant formula," patent # 6365177 filed in the year 2000. The assignee is Isotech of Maabarot, Israel. Maabarot is a kibbutz that is known for the manufacturing of Materna, an infant formula. It also has two pharmaceutical plants.

"Many studies show that type I diabetes is related to cow's milk consumption and neonatal feeding practice. In the case-control studies (including a study conducted in the Juvenile Diabetes Unit of the Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel), patients with type I diabetes were more likely to have been breast-fed for less than 3 months and to have been exposed to cow's milk protein before 3 months of age."

The answer to this dilemna is adding insulin to infant formula--recombinant insulin.

One might wonder whether infant formula with added insulin is a drug rather than a food product? While mothers in the USA must get a prescription from a physician for donor milk from a human milk bank, infant formula is readily available in stores. No warnings to mothers about the risk of diabetes....no advisory of whether the ingredients are genetically engineered. Parents are left in the dark about this "convenience" food for infants. Convenience is an interesting word. Many infant formula patents state that the reason they must produce infant formula is partly because mothers find breastfeeding "inconvenient," and "difficult." In a patent invented by Julian Cooper et al called ".alpha-lactalbumin gene constructs," patent # 5852224 assigned to PPL Therapeutics (made famous for the cloned sheep. Dolly), they state:

"Human milk has been shown to be superior over other milk types, notably cow, sheep, camel and goat milk, for human nutrition. However many mothers find breast feeding [two words] difficult or inconvenient. Moreover, in countries where infant food supplements are in great demand, it would be highly desirable to be able supply a milk product with the nutritional benefits of human milk."

Who has created the demand for this product? What is convenient about fixing formula versus the simplicity of putting a baby to the breast? Why is breastfeeding considered difficult? How much of the difficulty is living in a society where the bottle signifies infant feeding and the breast signifies sexuality. How does a woman in this society understand how much consumerism has shaped her behavior, her feelings about motherhood? If a woman embraces feminism, must she abandon her infant to daycare to fit the role society wishes her to play? If a woman instead embraces motherhood, must she consider herself enslaved to her children? And what about the many women who have no choice in the matter, it is economic survival? What kind of society fails to protect its young? What kind of society fails to protect mothers so that they can protect their young? The answer seems to be the society that fails to protect mothers and infants, is the consumerist-oriented society.

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