Insulin-dependent diabetes develops when the body's immune system destroys the beta-cells in the pancreas that make insulin. No one knows why this auto-immune reaction happens, but one theory is that cow's milk can stimulate the immune system to react to certain milk proteins. These milk proteins resemble others found on the surface of insulin-producing beta-cells. As a result, the immune system is tricked into attacking and destroying them. Glenda Cooper
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Fresh evidence for the controversial theory that cow's milk may cause diabetes in infants is revealed today. Writing in The Lancet, researchers at Rome University and St Bartholomew's Hospital in London say they have identified diabetics with immune cells that appear primed to attack a cow's milk protein, beta-casein.