Celiac.com 12/15/2010 - A small study in Swedish children has found no association between early childhood psychological stress and later development of celiac disease. Previous studies have shown links between psychological stress and a number immunological diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Their measure of psychological stress included factors such as serious life events, parenting stress, and parental worries. Using a questionnaire data from the ABIS study (All Babies In southeast Sweden), the team collected data on 11,000 children at one-year, and on 8,800 at two-years old. They confirmed celiac disease though observing of villous atrophy in small intestinal biopsy, and confirmed the diagnosis through patient chart data.
Their data showed that no association between future celiac disease and a serious life event in the family in the child's first 1 or 2.5 years after childbirth (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.45; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.01–2.65; P = 0.72; and OR = 1.21; 95% CI = 0.43–3.05; P = 0.64, respectively).
They also found no association between celiac disease and parenting stress at age 1 year and at 2.5 years (OR = 0.40; 95% CI = 0.01–2.38; P = 0.73 and OR = 0.74; 95% CI = 0.01–4.56; P = 1.00, respectively).
No children exposed to parental worries at 2.5 years were diagnosed with celiac disease before end of follow-up, compared to 25 diagnosed out of 8082 children not exposed to parental worry (OR = 0.00; 95% CI = 0.00–2.34; P = 0.64).
Nor was there any associations between the combined measures of stress and celiac disease.
This particular study found no association between celiac disease in Swedish children and psychological stress early in life. However, a wider and more statistically robust study is needed to entirely rule out any possible associations between early psychological stresses in children and later development of celiac disease.