New controversy surrounds the issue of whether injecting vitamin K in newborns to prevent haemorrhagic disease can cause childhood leukemia.

A study in Scotland failed to show a link between cancer and vitamin K, but two other new studies could not rule out an association. One group found a low risk of cancer attributable to vitamin K and suggested the intramuscular dose of 1 mg should be restricted to babies at high risk of haemorrhagic disease of the newborn, where the blood fails to clot. Vitamin K, which helps blood to clot, has always been given at birth, ostensibly to prevent the disease.

But questions over this practice have arisen ever since two studies in Bristol demonstrated a link between the injected variety of vitamin K and the later development of leukemia (Medical Monitor, January 21, 1998).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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