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    Jefferson Adams

    No Link Between Early Psychological Stress and Later Celiac Disease

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    New study finds no link between early psychological stress and CD.
    Caption: New study finds no link between early psychological stress and CD.

    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.

    A team of researchers sought to look more closely at the connection between psychological stress in families and biopsy-proven celiac disease in children. The team included Karl Mårild, Anneli Sepa Frostell, and Jonas F. Ludvigsson.



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    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.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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