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Diabet Med. 1999 Dec;16(12):1025-9.

Childhood Type 1 diabetes mellitus and parental occupations involving social mixing and infectious contacts: two population-based case-control studies.

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Leukaemia Research Fund, University of Leeds, UK.



To test the hypothesis that increased exposure to infections, through parental jobs involving high levels of social mixing, reduces the risk of childhood Type 1 diabetes mellitus.


Two population-based case-control studies of children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes mellitus from Yorkshire (0-15 years) and Northern Ireland (0-14 years) included 220 and 189 cases and 433 and 465 controls, respectively. Parental occupations were coded using a standard occupational classification. Each job was allocated to high, medium or low levels of social mixing according to a predefined categorization. Odds ratios (OR) for the risk of childhood Type 1 diabetes were estimated for parental social mixing by age at diagnosis.


Childhood Type 1 diabetes mellitus was not associated with high levels of parental occupational social mixing (Yorkshire - mothers: OR 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.76-1.50; fathers: 1.15, 0.75-1.76; Northern Ireland - heads of household, usually the father: 0.78, 0.49-1.25). A larger proportion of mothers (39%) compared to fathers (18% Yorkshire, 17% Northern Ireland) had jobs involving high levels of social mixing. Mothers with high social mixing jobs conferred a nonsignificant reduced risk of Type 1 diabetes among children diagnosed under 5 years of age (0.58, 0.24-1.38) compared to those diagnosed at age 5 years and above (1.14, 0.77-1.69).


No association between parental occupational social mixing and the risk of childhood Type 1 diabetes mellitus was detected for all ages combined. Mothers were more likely to have jobs involving high levels of social mixing than fathers. The possible protective effect of maternal high occupational social mixing on children diagnosed below 5 years of age merits further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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