Infants' Infections May Up Type 1 Risk
Scientists know that environment and genes play roles in the development of type 1 diabetes, but that's about all they know for sure. Now researchers report in a German study that respiratory infections during the first year of life may increase a child's risk for developing type 1. The study included 148 newborns who had a gene associated with the disease plus an immediate family member with type 1. They tracked illness during the babies' first three years of life and checked every three months for the development of islet autoantibodies, which indicates that the immune system has started targeting the insulin-producing cells for destruction— a stepping-stone to type 1. Respiratory infections before a child's first birthday, the first six months in particular, were associated with a greater risk that he or she would later develop islet autoantibodies.
Source: JAMA Pediatrics, published online July 1, 2013