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Infections, Vaccines and Diabetes: What is the Connection?

Posted Sep 07 2008 8:04pm
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)

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)

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?
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