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Diab Vasc Dis Res. 2013 Jul;10(4):375-7. doi: 10.1177/1479164112474907. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Does farm environment protect against type 1 diabetes mellitus?

Author information

1
Department of Public Health, Hjelt Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. sanna.mm.heikkinen@helsinki.fi

Abstract

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS:

Hygiene hypothesis has been shown valid in respect of allergies and asthma but has not been, however, sufficiently studied in relation to type 1 diabetes mellitus. This study investigates the effect of childhood farm environment on the prevalence of type 1 diabetes mellitus in Finnish children and young adults.

METHODS:

Data come from a questionnaire study carried out in 2007 (N = 5805). Prevalence of type 1 diabetes mellitus was analysed according to the type of the rural exposure below the age of 18 years. Associations were estimated and tested using Bayesian methods.

RESULTS:

Consistent suggestive evidence of the inverse association of childhood's farm environment with the occurrence of type 1 diabetes mellitus was shown, even though conclusive results were not reached.

CONCLUSION/INTERPRETATION:

Exposure to a broad variety of non-pathogenic environmental microorganisms during childhood might have a protective effect on type 1 diabetes mellitus. Results clearly suggest that further research is well grounded with larger samples.

KEYWORDS:

Type 1 diabetes; epidemiology; farm; hygiene hypothesis; living environment; microbial deprivation

PMID:
23444292
DOI:
10.1177/1479164112474907
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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