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Spring/summer born children more likely to have coeliac disease

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children have found that children born in Massachusetts in spring or summer have a higher incidence of coeliac disease. The cause of coeliac disease is unknown, but potential triggers include the timing of infants’ introduction to gluten and exposure to viruses during their first year of life. Children are typically given a gluten food around six months of age, which would coincide with the start of the winter cold season.

Researchers led by Dr Pornthep Tanpowpong studied 382 patients with biopsy-confirmed coeliac disease, and found that in children above the ages of 15 years, whether they were born in a light season (March to August) or a dark season (September to February) made no difference. But in the 317 children under the age of 15, 57% had been born in a light season and 43% had been born in a dark season.

These findings offer potential to rethink when some children first start eating cereals or gluten-containing foods. Other season-of-birth factors merit investigation, such as sunlight exposure and vitamin D status.

Source: Digestive Disease Week


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