Infections in youth linked to diabetes

July 4, 2006

British researchers have found an association between common infections in children and the later development of Type 1 diabetes.

Researchers from the universities of Newcastle and Leeds analyzed the medical histories of more than 4,000 patients under the age of 29 who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the Yorkshire region over a 25-year period, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

Among those who had been diagnosed with a childhood infection, 6 to 7 percent more cases of Type 1 diabetes were found than would have been expected by chance. The incidence rose to between 7 and 14 percent in females.

Diabetes develops if the body cannot produce insulin, and Type 1 usually appears before the age of 40.

Simon O'Neill, director of care and policy at Diabetes UK, said the latest findings, published in the journal Diabetologia, was part of a growing body of research.

"This research reinforces the idea that common infections and environmental factors also play a part," O'Neill said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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