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Representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics will meet with business leaders early next year to determine what role business should play in child-health issues.

The corporate summit, which was announced at the A.A.P.'S annual meeting in New Orleans last week, will be held in Washington on April 29-30. The goal of the summit, a joint effort with the National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality and the Washington Business Group on Health, is to bring together leaders from business and education to discuss the importance of children's health, the A.A.P. said.

"There really hasn't been much of an emphasis on the health of a child and his ability to learn," said Dr. Antoinette Parisi Eaton, the immediate past president of the A.A.P.

She said she hopes the summit will end with an agreement by the medical experts and the business leaders to promote demonstration projects for innovative child-health programs.

A common ingredient in all baby formulas for premature infants may be responsible for a bowel disorder that kills up to 4,000 premature babies every year, researchers at the A.A.P. conference said.

Researchers from the Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans said that all baby formulas are based on cow's milk. But the predominant protein in cow's milk, casein, may cause necrotizing enterocolitis, the second-leading cause of death in premature infants, said the pediatricians who reported their findings at the conference.

Although human milk also contains casein, it is quite different from that found in cow's milk, the researchers said. Cow's milk, which has about three times the protein as human milk, may not be completely digestable by many newborn infants, the researchers said.

Researchers at the convention also said they were gaining new insights into why some newborn infants who are born with the virus that causes AIDs go on to develop the disease and why others eventually test negative for the virus.

Dr. Philip A. Pizzo, the chief of pediatrics and the head of the infectious-diseases section at the National Cancer Institute, said that between one-quarter and one-third of babies who test positive for the human immunodeficiency virus at birth remain positive at several months of age. Positive status at birth is generally considered to be a better indicator of the mother's H.I.V. status than the child's, he said.

Children who retest positive for the virus months after birth tend to have been premature and were more likely to have been breast fed, he said. --E.F.

Vol. 11, Issue 10, Page 10

Published in Print: November 6, 1991, as Health Column
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