2016, May

Respiratory infections as a risk factor for type 1 diabetes

DZD researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München found a further piece in the puzzle of understanding how type 1 diabetes develops. They show that viral respiratory infections during the first six months of life are associated with an increased risk for type 1 diabetes.

The scientists headed by Prof. Anette-Gabriele Ziegler examined data from almost 300,000 children born in Bavaria. Their findings show that viral respiratory tract disorders during the first six months of life significantly increase the risk of children developing type 1 diabetes. Infections that occurred later or that involved other organs were not associated with a significantly higher risk.

In the future the scientists want to determine whether there is actually a causal relationship and if yes, exactly which pathogens are involved and how they trigger this effect. This could then serve as a basis for attempting to develop an appropriate vaccine.

Original publication:
Beyerlein A, Donnachie E, Jergens S, Ziegler AG. Infections in Early Life and Development of Type 1 Diabetes. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.2181. JAMA. May 3, 2016

Source: HMGU