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Editor,—I enjoyed reading the paper by Morleyet al, which provides evidence for two things that I have long suspected.1 First, you cannot make children smarter by putting more iron in their milk, and second that I am the only person who has ever read any of my own publications. The authors say that Stevens and Nelson2 found that formula milk reduced the incidence of iron deficiency anaemia whereas the study that was designed to look at the effect of iron in formula milk provided no evidence at all to justify this statement. There was no evidence that formula milk was responsible for the low incidence of iron deficiency anaemia in the children who were studied and no evidence that iron in formula milk was an important source of dietary iron for these infants.
Dr Morley and colleagues comment:
We apologise for misquoting Stevens' paper; this was an editing error when we amalgamated two papers. The reference for the statement “Iron fortification of milk formula . . . has been shown to reduce the incidence of iron deficiency anaemia” should have been: Moffatt ME, Longstaffe S, Besant J, Dureski C. Prevention of iron deficiency and psychomotor decline in high risk infants through use of iron fortified formula: a randomised trial. J Pediatr 1994;125:527-34.
The iron content of the three milks was also misquoted and should have been: cows' milk 0.5 mg/litre; iron fortified formula 12 mg/litre; unfortified formula 0.9 mg/litre. This correction strengthens rather than weakens our conclusions.