July 02, 2013
1 min read

Respiratory infections may increase infants’ risk for diabetes

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Respiratory infections in early childhood, especially in the first year of life, may be a risk factor for the development of type 1 diabetes, according to data.

In a prospective cohort study conducted in Munich, researchers examined data for 148 children at high risk for developing type 1 diabetes with documentation of 1,245 infectious events in 90,750 person-days during their first 3 years of life. Documentation was collected from the ongoing BABYDIET study, a German dietary intervention study that tests the effects of delayed gluten exposure on the development of islet autoimmunity in children at increased risk for diabetes, researchers wrote.

The HR for islet autoantibody seroconversion associated with respiratory infections was increased during the first 6 months of life (HR=2.27; 95% CI, 1.32-3.91) and for those aged 6 to 11.9 months (HR=1.32; 95% CI, 1.08-1.61).

According to data, a higher number of respiratory infections were reported in the 6 months before islet autoantibody seroconversion and also were associated with an increased HR (HR=1.42; 95% CI, 1.12-1.80), the researchers wrote.

“While there were no islet autoantibody seroconversion events observed in the first 6 months of life, the incidence rates of seroconversion per 100 person-years were 8.51 in the second-half year, 4.07 in the second year, and 3.67 in the third year of life. The mean incidences of the three infection categories also increased considerably after the first 6 months of life and remained relatively constant thereafter, with a slight decline in the third year of life,” researchers wrote.

Besides these findings, there is some evidence connecting short-term effects of infectious events and the development of autoimmunity, they wrote.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.