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Soy-Based Infant Formula is Associated with an Increased Prevalence of Comorbidities in Fragile X Syndrome


A large number of adults and children consume soy in various forms, but little information is available regarding potential neurological side effects. Prior work indicates an association between the consumption of soy-based diets and seizure prevalence in mouse models of neurological disease and in children with autism. Herein, we sought to evaluate potential associations between the consumption of soy-based formula during infancy and disease comorbidities in persons with fragile X syndrome (FXS), while controlling for potentially confounding issues, through a retrospective case-control survey study of participants with FXS enrolled in the Fragile X Online Registry with Accessible Research Database (FORWARD). There was a 25% usage rate of soy-based infant formula in the study population. We found significant associations between the consumption of soy-based infant formula and the comorbidity of autism, gastrointestinal problems (GI) and allergies. Specifically, there was a 1.5-fold higher prevalence of autism, 1.9-fold GI problems and 1.7-fold allergies in participants reporting the use of soy-based infant formula. The major reason for starting soy-based infant formula was GI problems. The average age of seizure and allergy onset occurred long after the use of soy-based infant formula. We conclude that early-life feeding with soy-based infant formula is associated with the development of several disease comorbidities in FXS.

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