The season in which you’re born does not influence whether you get celiac disease

By Jason Clevenger

Summary: A group of American and Swedish researchers investigated the possibility that infants born in summer months had a higher likelihood of developing celiac disease, since they would be more likely to be weaned and introduced to gluten in winter when viral infections are more frequent.

The researchers used the Swedish national medical registry to examine the time of birth of 29,000 confirmed celiac disease patients, and this group was compared to more than 144,000 control patients without celiac disease. The researchers found a fairly small additional risk of summer birth being associated with later celiac disease, and concluded that infectious disease exposure early in life was unlikely to affect the development of celiac disease.

Conclusion: Since genetic factors alone cannot predict who will ultimately develop celiac disease, researchers have been looking for potential environmental triggers and other risk factors. In this study, increased exposure to infectious disease at the time of gluten introduction does not appear to play a role in the onset of celiac disease.

 

[1] “Season of birth in a nationwide cohort of coeliac disease patients”, Lebwohl B, Green PH, Murray JA, Ludvigsson JF, Archives of Disease in Childhood 2012 Nov 21. [Epub ahead of print]