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Birth Dates and Type 1 Risk

Siblings born in quick succession may have a lower risk for type 1 diabetes, a study found. Researchers analyzed data on nearly 2,800 children with type 1 from 14 previous studies. They found that those born within three years of an older sibling had a 20 percent lower risk for developing type 1 than those born after a gap of more than three years. It's unclear why this association may exist, though the researchers suspect that siblings who are closer in age catch each other's infections more often. Some experts think that too little exposure to germs can cause the immune system to malfunction, leading to autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
Source: Diabetes, published online Feb. 7, 2012