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Age at Gluten Introduction Not Linked to Risk of Celiac Disease

Risk of tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies, celiac disease up in Swedish versus U.S. children

MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The age of introduction of gluten is not associated with risk of celiac disease (CD) in genetically predisposed children, according to a study published online Jan. 19 in Pediatrics.

Carin Andrén Aronsson, from Lund University in Sweden, and colleagues examined the correlation between age of gluten introduction and risk of CD in genetically predisposed children. Data were collected for 6,436 newborn infants who were screened for high-risk HLA-genotypes for CD, and followed-up in Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States.

The researchers found that Swedish children were introduced to gluten earlier than those from Finland, Germany, and the United States (median, 21.7 weeks versus 26.1, 30.4, and 30.4 weeks, respectively; P < 0.0001). Twelve percent of children developed tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies (tTGA) and 5 percent developed CD during a median follow-up of five years. The risk of tTGA and CD was increased for Swedish children compared with U.S. children (hazard ratios, 1.74 and 1.76, respectively). After adjustment for country, HLA, gender, and family history of CD, gluten introduction before 17 weeks or later than 26 weeks was not associated with increased risk for tTGA or CD.

“Time to first introduction of gluten is not an independent risk factor for developing CD by 5 years of age, neither on an overall level nor on a country level comparison,” the authors write.

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