The risk of multiple sclerosis is higher in children and adolescents who have type 1 diabetes.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) risk is higher in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, according to research. Susanne Bechtold, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist and diabetologist at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, wrote, “Type 1 diabetes and [multiple sclerosis] are organ-specific inflammatory diseases, which result from an autoimmune attack against either pancreatic β-cells or central nervous system; a combined appearance has been described repeatedly. We hypothesize that antibodies (namely, diabetes-specific antibody, celiac disease- or thyroid-specific antibodies), BMI, immigrant background, or month of birth might have a major impact on the coincidence of type 1 diabetes and MS.”
The researchers used a database to estimate the relative risk of multiple sclerosis in children and adolescents with diabetes. The analysis demonstrated the estimated relative risk of multiple sclerosis in type 1 diabetic youth to be 3.35 to 4.79 percent for the German reference data and 2.01 to 11.39 percent for the mid-European reference data.
Factors contributing to the risk of multiple sclerosis included immigration status and thyroid antibodies – primarily among males. Type 1 diabetics who developed multiple sclerosis were more likely to be born in the spring and summer months, with highest incidences among those born in June and July, and the lowest rates among those born in April.
The authors wrote, “The risk of autoimmune diseases might be linked to month of birth through seasonal maternal vitamin D deficiencies. Lower UV exposure might predict for a higher autoimmune susceptibility, explaining the co-occurrence of several autoimmune diseases in one person.”
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