Babies, stomach infections and celiac disease risk

June 21, 2017

Babies, stomach infections and celiac disease risk

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Babies who get more gastrointestinal infections more likely to develop celiac disease

Babies who get frequent stomach infections may have a greater risk for developing celiac disease later in their lives, a new study shows.

The risk appears to be especially high when infants get repeated gastrointestinal infection before they turn one year old, according to the study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and conducted by scientists in Germany. They analyzed data from nearly 300,000 infants born in Bavaria, Germany, between 2005 and 2007.

The risk seems to be associated with permanent inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract in early childhood, one study author said.

Another study published this year in the journal Science by researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that infection with the common but otherwise harmless reovirus virus can trigger development of celiac disease. For children who have the genetic background for celiac disease, getting the reovirus in the first year of life, when the immune system is still maturing can have long term consequences, one study author said.

You can find out more about the new study of infections and risk of celiac disease here.

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