Celiac.com 02/04/2015 - For kids with a predisposition to celiac disease, does the age at which they first eat gluten have any connection with their risk for celiac disease? A team of researchers wanted to figure out whether the age at which a child first eats gluten carried any associated with risk for celiac disease, for genetically predisposed children. The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) is a prospective birth cohort study.
They are variously affiliated with the Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden; the Pediatrics Epidemiology Center at the Department of Pediatrics of the Morsani College of Medicine at University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida; the Digestive Health Institute at the University of Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver; the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado in Aurora, Colorado; the Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado at Denver in Aurora, Colorado; the Institute of Diabetes Research, Helmholtz Zentrum München, and Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, and Forschergruppe Diabetes e.V., Neuherberg, Germany; The Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, Georgia; Department of Pediatrics, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland; the Department of Physiology and Pediatrics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland; the National Institutes for Health and Welfare, Nutrition Unit, Helsinki, Finland; the School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland; and the Research Center for Child Health at Tampere University and University Hospital and the Science Center of Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere, Finland.
For their study, the team followed up on 6,436 newborn infants who had been screened for high-risk HLA-genotypes for celiac disease in Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States.
At clinical visits every third month, the team collected information about infant feeding.
The first outcome was persistent positive for tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies (tTGA), the marker for celiac disease.
The second outcome was celiac disease, defined as either a diagnosis based on intestinal biopsy results, or as persistently high levels of tTGA.
The team found that Swedish children consumed their first gluten at an earlier age, 21.7 weeks on average, compared with 26.1 weeks for children from Finland, and just over 30 weeks for kids from Germany, and the United States (P < .0001).
Over about a follow-up period ranging from 1.7–8.8 years, but averaging about five years, the team found that 773 (12%) children developed tTGA and 307 (5%) developed celiac disease.
Compared with US children, Swedish children saw an increased risk for tTGA, with a hazard ratio of 1.74 [95% CI: 1.47–2.06]) and celiac disease, with a hazard ratio of 1.76 [95% CI: 1.34–2.24]), respectively (P < .0001).
Gluten introduction before kids turn 17 weeks or after 26 weeks was not associated with increased risk for tTGA or celiac disease, adjusted for country, HLA, gender, and family history of celiac disease, neither in the overall analysis nor on a country-level comparison.