The University of Kansas Hospital Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist Julie L. Wei, MD, coined the phrase the “Milk & Cookie Disease”TM after years of treating children referred to her with ear, nose and throat complaints that mimicked actual infections and illness.  Often these patients were on several medications but not showing improvement. Dr. Wei strongly believed a significant number of children were misdiagnosed and over-medicated. She successfully treated them by prescribing a change in what and when they eat … especially dairy and sugar. The results have been children sleeping better, eating better, and thriving with fewer or no medications.

1. Who is Dr. Wei and how do you pronounce her name?

Wei is pronounced “way”.  She frequently tells her patients and parents there is a healthier way to live, which is where A Healthier Wei (the title of her book available in November) originates.

2. What is the Milk & Cookie DiseaseTM ?

It is a phrase Dr. Wei coined to help parents better understand the impact of snacks given to children in the evening and at bedtime, particularly dairy and sugar.  Dr. Wei sees a strong link between foods high in dairy, sugar and acid and the symptoms children show that often mimic actual infections and illness resulting in children being misdiagnosed and over-medicated.

 3. What symptoms do children experiencing Milk & Cookie DiseaseTM show that can be mistaken as infections or other illness? 

Symptoms of Milk & Cookie DiseaseTM  include chronic stuffy nose, nasal congestion, chronic runny nose, cough, “sinus infections”, sore throat, recurrent “croup”, allergies and asthma.

4. How does Milk & Cookie DiseaseTM cause symptoms that mimic other illness?

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) can occur when children snack too close to bedtime.  Food and liquid can back up in the stomach, the esophagus (swallowing tube) and even up into the throat which is called reflux.

5. How can parents tell if their child is suffering Milk & Cookie DiseaseTM ?

Parents should answer these questions and consult their pediatrician.

6. Does Your Child Have “Milk & Cookie DiseaseTM”? 

If you answer “yes” five or more times, or if your child is otherwise healthy but on more than 3 medications, or have seen several specialists such as pediatric gastroenterology, ENT, pulmonary, or asthma/allergy doctors, your child could have Milk & Cookie DiseaseTM and you should consult with your pediatrician.

1. Was your child born full term and healthy?                                                  Yes    No

2. Does your child drink milk at or immediately before bedtime?                     Yes    No

3. Does your child eat a snack/drink anything other than water after dinner? Yes    No

4. Does your child have chronic “stuffy” nose?                                                 Yes    No

5. Is your child “sick” but still able to go to school/live life?                               Yes    No

6. Have any of the medications completely “cured” his/her symptoms?           Yes    No

7. Do you feel frustrated that your child is not “healthier”?                                Yes    No

8. Does your child have constipation? (need laxative to keep regular?)            Yes    No

9. How many medications is your child currently on?                              1     2    3     > 4

10. How many specialists has your child seen in the past year?             1     2    3     > 4