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Infections, Vaccines and Diabetes: What is the Connection?

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13 March 2006

Infections, Vaccines and Diabetes: What is the Connection?

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about vaccines. I thought about the flu vaccine I was given last October which did not protect me from getting the flu last week. I have thought about the threat of the Bird Flu H5n1 and the Pandemic Flu of 1918 that killed 50 million people across the globe, and how protected we will be if the Bird Flu today mutates and crosses over to the human race. I have also been thinking about a comment that I received last week in response to my post on TEDDY. I was given a vaccine for Chicken Pox at age 5. I then became infected with chicken pox. Go figure. Then I contracted chicken pox at the age of 10 - again! The doctors in 1974 decided I should have another varicella vaccine. Soonafter my chicken pox infection and vaccination, I too was diagnosed as a T1 diabetic.

In an effort to show academia's response to external factors, such as vaccines being given the blame for Paediatric T1 diabetes, I have listed a few here.

Admittedly, I have no idea whether or not, the threat of diabetes was present when I became infected with chicken pox at age 10, and the infection proved my vulnerability or if the infection itself activated my immune system to wipe out the beta cells present in my pancreas. Others have suggested that vaccinations carry the threat themselves. One scientist has been studying whether time of vaccination is responsible. The author, Claussen, believes that any vaccination given after 2 months old, increases the risk for diabetes. This article refutes this hypothesis:

The results of our study and the preponderance of epidemiologic evidence do not support an association between any of the recommended childhood vaccines and an increased risk of type 1 diabetes.

Claussen (as before) disagrees:

Exposure to HiB immunization is associated with an increased risk of IDDM. (insulin dependent diabetes mellitus)

An altogether different article sets out to study whether viruses induce T1 diabetes in children. This study focuses on the evaluation of some infectious diseases as risk determinants of type I. The study assessed whether children who had become infected by one or two of the following viruses posed a threat: morbilli, parotitis, rubella, pertussis or varicella (chicken pox!). Their conclusion?

Contracted infections can be considered potential accelerating factors of clinical manifestation of type I DM. Therefore multiple exposures might speed up the onset of diabetes in children

Lastly, there is this paper that investigates perinatal
data, early nutrition, growth and development, infectious
diseases, atopic diseases and vaccinations. The group that collected the data was/is called the EURODIAB collaborative group (established in 1988) and consisted of 44 European centres covering about 30 million children.
They found incidence rates were highest in northern and north-western Europe and lowest in southern and eastern Europe. They found incidence in northern
Europe to be the highest in the world.

(What is your cultural background? I just happen to be Norwegian, and Dutch with a sprinkling of French and English)
Here is what they found to be significant risk factors for T1 diabetes:
Perinatal risk factors:
Older maternal age (high risk in children born to mothers 25 years +)(YES for me)
Maternal preeclampsia (YES for me)
Neonatal respiratory disease
Jaundice caused by blood-group incompatibility (YES for me)

Childhood
prediabetic children were taller than their peers for up to 5 years
of age. (YES for me)
Even higher differences were seen for weight
Association between accelerated growth and risk (YES for me)

Vaccines
no evidence to support vaccinations
(against rubella, morbilli, varicella, pertussis, poliomyelitis,
diphtheria, tetanus, parotitis and haemophilus
influenza B) increasing the risk of childhood
Type 1 diabetes.

This last paper definitively relates to me. Obviously, most papers cannot correlate vaccinations and incidence of T1. What are your thoughts? Do any of these factors relate to you or your children?

11 Comments:

Blogger Megan said...

Interesting. I had all the vaccines mentioned, with the exception of the chicken pox one, since I had the disease before the vaccine was given. I was also way taller than my peers my entire life.

3:00 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I check yes for everything except neonatal respiratory disease.
When Brendon was born:
I was 29
I had preeclampsia
He had jaundice, but it wasn't caused by blood-group incompatibility (I don't think)
He was taller than other kids before he had diabetes
He was heavier

I think that's pretty interesting. In addition, Jacob relates to all except for th respiratory thing and the preeclampsia. We stored his cord blood and had it tested for compatibilty with Brendon's blood, and all the markers matched 100%. Now I'm just hoping that the right conditions don't start brewing for him to get diabetes.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Sandra Miller said...

Fascinating post, Elizabeth.

In terms of risk factors listed:

I'm of French/French Canadian/English descent. My husband is German/Italian.

Older maternal age-- (YES for me as well- I was 33 when Joseph was born)

No preeclampsia, neonatal respiratory disease, jaundice... though I did become septic two days after the birth (H Influenza was identified as the culprit after a week-long hospitalization). Btw, I was nursing the whole time.

Joseph was indeed taller than his peers (dubbed "the gentle giant" by moms in our "playgroup"), though he was average weight.

Had all vaccines (did not, however, receive varicella until he was five).

Like everyone else, I wish we could pinpoint that one thing, or even set of things, that we could control.

It just seems like there are too damn many potential triggers/predisposing factors...

10:00 PM  
Blogger KSC said...

What a list. I recently read another study suggesting that emotional stress (and the phsiological changes associated with it) can increase the incidence of Type 1. (http://www.lifescan.com/diabetes/news/20051006elin021/)

Anyway... I wrote about how was diagnosed after a bout with chicken pox at 16, my younger brother was also diagnosed after a sickness (he remembers it as chicken pox, I don't remember what it was) at age 7. Our mother was young (21 for me, 22 for him), but we were both jaundiced. We are of English/Canadian/Welsh/German descent. Rather than accelerated growth, however, I have to admit to being sort of puny! My brother is/was pretty average. I have no idea about the preclampsia. Very interesting though. We were vaccinated for childhood diseases in Canada, then moved to the US where the approval/schedule was different.

12:02 AM  
Blogger sandra said...

My daugher was nine when she had her onset of T1. She was being treated for asthma and also taking allergy shots. I did not have preclampsia. My daugher was tall although not real tall and she was not overweight at all. I feel that pregnisone is what manifested her disease and research does state that this can happen - as well as cause high blood pressure. Of course a person has to have a predisposition for this to manifest but I suppose that applies to most diseases. She had been sick with asthma and had taken pregnisone. I nursed her as a baby and she ate healthy foods. Her father became a T1 at the age of 37 which is somewhat unusual. We subsequently found out that his maternal grandfather had also had diabetes in Holland.

I was a RH negative baby with jaundice and had a blood transfusion at birth. Neither of my daughters had jaundice. Both my daughters had positive blood so I had one of those special shots after each birth. No one on my side of the family that I know about has had T1 diabetes. Shortly after my husband's onset in American his niece in Holland had an onset when she was 13.

4:17 AM  
Blogger sandra said...

One more thing - I was 30 when my daughter was born, older mother I guess.

4:20 AM  
Blogger Amy A said...

I got diagnosed at the age of 11 years old in May 1991. I had been sick all winter. I can't remember what all I had, but I did have a mild case of chicken pox. I can't remember if this was my first or second time.
My mom was 33 when I was born. I had a collapsed lung when I was born. I also had my adnoids and tonsils removed at the age of 4.
I was not taller or heavier than my peers. I was often one of the shortest in the class (front row and middle in the class pics). No jaundice. Don't think my mom had preeclampsia. Neonatal respiratory disease - none that I know of.

My dad's oldest brother's daughter has type 1 diabetes. But her mother's brother had type 1. Aside from her having type 1 diabetes, we have no familial connection.

My dad's parents were Ukrainian (born in Ukraine) and my mom's family is Irish, English & Scottish, but have lived in Canada for around 100 years or so.

3:31 AM  
Blogger Amy A said...

I got diagnosed at the age of 11 years old in May 1991. I had been sick all winter. I can't remember what all I had, but I did have a mild case of chicken pox. I can't remember if this was my first or second time.
My mom was 33 when I was born. I had a collapsed lung when I was born. I also had my adnoids and tonsils removed at the age of 4.
I was not taller or heavier than my peers. I was often one of the shortest in the class (front row and middle in the class pics). No jaundice. Don't think my mom had preeclampsia. Neonatal respiratory disease - none that I know of.

My dad's oldest brother's daughter has type 1 diabetes. But her mother's brother had type 1. Aside from her having type 1 diabetes, we have no familial connection.

My dad's parents were Ukrainian (born in Ukraine) and my mom's family is Irish, English & Scottish, but have lived in Canada for around 100 years or so.

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sister finished with her childhood immunization at age 2 and a half and by age 3 she got type 1 diabetes. I had bad reactions to my vaccines (as she did) and at age 11 I got type 1. I have read that a strong reaction to a vaccine means the body has been harmed-this could cause diabetes. It only takes the body a little harm to get confused and kill of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas...scary huh?

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must confess to believing that a link exists between vaccinations and Type1. My 14 yr old daughter was diagnosed within 4 weeks of having several routine vaccinations.I remember thinking at the time "I hope her immune system is good, with all these injections she is having". It does appear at times to be quite an overload - obviously with those destined to get type 1 surely we must question if vaccinations expediate the onset.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous spartan_gurl said...

My son is 10 years old as was diagnosed in September with type 1 DM. Studies are saying there is no correlation of stress and type 1, but I beg to differ. Although I was 33 when he was born, he was not jaundice, there was no preeclampsia, and he was never sick (other than his mild asthma).
His height and weight are within normal ranges for his age. There is no diabetes history in the family. But within the last 5 years, there has been several stress factors involved in his life: father was in Iraq, parents divorced, both parents remarried, father moved several times, brother was killed, and birth of new brother. So, the only thing I can think of to "cause" the type 1 is the vaccines or the stress.

4:53 AM  

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