The Milk and Cookie Disease

After receiving many children patients with healthy bodies but the same cold like symptoms at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Julie Wei knew something was wrong. Children would come in to her office with cold-like symptoms like a runny and stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and constipation. She received many of these cases, so she decided to look further into each child’s health.

After interviewing the child and parent(s), Dr. Wei found that these children all had a large amount of dairy and sugar consumption daily, mainly before bed. This overabundance of dairy and sugar caused the children to have this sickness, so Dr. Wei decided to call it the “milk and cookie disease.”

Since this disease is just a nickname for the link between high dairy and sugar diets and cold-like symptoms, it was hard for Wei to diagnose at first. She would prescribe medication to the children in hopes that it would solve the problem. The method she used was sort of like the Texas Sharp Shooter problem in that she kept trying different medications until she realized the problem and the solution. According to a FAQ about this illness given by the University of Kansas Hospital, “Milk and Cookie disease causes symptoms that mimic other illnesses.” These illnesses include gastroesophageal reflux and laryngopharyngeal reflux. These ilnesses are caused by late night snacking and cause reflux. The reflux causes pain in the throat which is similar to Milk and Cookies disease.

Dr. Wei predicts that around 50 to 75 percent of children have this disease. A case study on a five year old named Jonathan was done to get a better look at this disease. Jonathan has difficulty sleeping because of his naturally enlarged tonsils, but when researchers found that he was late night snacking and eating foods that were easy on his throat that happened to be mostly dairy products, they concluded that the reflux that he was experiencing and the lack of sleep he was getting was probably more than just his inflamed tonsils. After seeing Dr. Wei, Jonathan’s parents limited his late night snacking and gave him more water, and within 3 weeks everyone noticed a difference.

This disease is very hard to find because the symptoms are similar to those of other sicknesses, but it is there and if it is not addressed, it can lead to unhealthy lifestyles that will lead to more sicknesses. Fox news provided a list of things to do if a parent thing his/her child has Milk and Cookie disease. They wrote, “keep a food journal, stop bedtime snacking, avoid or minimize dairy and sugar in the evening, offer healthy snacks, and treat constipation.” These things can help attack this disease and make you child even healthier. So watch out for those Christmas cookies!

6 thoughts on “The Milk and Cookie Disease

  1. Rebecca Danielle Schneider

    Your blog title made me laugh because it is so funny, yet so true! I can’t eat cookies, or anything sugary for that matter, without washing it down with a glass of milk. I had no idea that this posed a serious threat to one’s health. I liked how you connected to our class terminology such as the Texas Sharp Shooter problem. However, I have some other concerns. For one, the study is not that strong in that it only tests one child, which does not represent a whole population of children. In addition, what I am confused about is that the study does not address the possibility of these kids having a lactose intolerant problem. I’ve eaten my fair share of late night snacks, yet have not experienced the refluxes mentioned above, so it is very possible that they should not be eating dairy in general. I also wonder what exactly constitutes this as an illness? Also, is there any credibility in what Dr. Wei is saying? You mentioned that he “predicts 50 to 75% of children have this disease,” but what is this based off of? Since we are not provided with any data to prove the harm in this snacking or how common the disease is, I am not entirely convinced. With that said, I will probably still eat cookies and milk at night, because who can resist?

  2. Alicja Justyna Bartnikiewicz

    This is a very interesting post! I’ve never heard of that disease but after reading your post it actually makes sense and I kind of get the idea. Parents should care more about what and when their children eat and when necessary put them on a diet.

  3. Kristen

    This topic was very interesting! It’s crazy how so many things we do lead to common symptoms but when you get tested for those illnesses everything comes back negative and the medical mystery becomes unsolved. This “milk and cookie” disease is very interesting and definitely seems to be realistic based on the cases. I’m interested in knowing whether or not this milk and cookie disease can happen to people of all ages since the research you presented is directed towards children. This Fox article further goes in depth about the milk and cookie disease and whether or not it’s an actual disease or simply just malnutrition which is something we’ve always known of. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/07/14/milk-and-cookie-disease-new-childhood-health-condition-caused-by-diet.html

  4. Brandon Steidley

    This disease, along with so many others in our country can be solved with nothing more than a healthy, or at least healthier, diet. The fact that between 50 and 75 percent of the children of this country are affected by a disease caused by having too much sugar and milk before bed time makes me concerned about more of their health than just the “milk and cookies disease”! Parents need to teach their kids to eat well when they are young so they make healthy eating a habit before it is too late!

  5. Adrian Carlos Moscol

    The title of your blog immediately grabbed my attention because of how bizarre a milk and cookie disease sounds. At first I was skeptical due to the broad spectrum of symptoms and the similarities to a common cold; however, I understood that this disease was real later on in your blog when you addressed how it is very rare and difficult to diagnose due to its similarity. I was curious about some current issues with the milk and cookie disease so I looked into the news and found an article titled, “Milk and Cookie Disease’: The new childhood health condition caused by diet” which discusses the statistics of how the disease rate is growing among other things. Check out the article if you get a chance.

  6. zrl5024

    Very fascinating! I’ve never heard of this disease but there are so many out there that mimic the symptoms of other illnesses like you said. How do doctors know how to differentiate the “milk and cookie” disease from these other sicknesses? Is there something specific to look for? I have what I believe are bad allergies, but then I think to myself, my diet is has me consuming a large dairy and sugar intake, especially at night, and perhaps that may be a cause for my symptoms, or perhaps intensify them. You also say the studies were done on children and well I’m not a child anymore so it may not apply. Have they tested for this in adults who have a high sugar and dairy diet?

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