No Childhood Vaccination-Diabetes Link
Childhood Vaccines Not Associated With Type 1 Diabetes Risk
March 31, 2004 -- The largest study to date on the proposed
link between childhood vaccination and type 1 diabetes suggests that common
vaccines do not increase the risk of the disease.
The Danish study followed nearly 750,000 children, comparing
the risk of developing type 1 diabetes between vaccinated and non-vaccinated
children, and found no evidence of an association between common vaccines and
"Overall, there were no more cases of diabetes among the
vaccinated children than in the unvaccinated children," says researcher
Anders Hviid, of Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The findings appear in the April 1 issue of TheNew
England Journal of Medicine.
Type 1 diabetes (formerly known as juvenile or
insulin-dependent diabetes) occurs when insulin-producing cells in the pancreas
are destroyed by the immune system. The exact cause of the disease is unknown,
but a combination of genetic and environmental factors is thought to influence
the risk of developing the condition.
Diabetes and Vaccination Linked by Timing Alone
Researchers say the fact that type 1 diabetes cases have risen
by 3% each year in developed countries over the last 50 years has fueled
speculation that various environmental factors, such as diet, lifestyle, and
exposure to infectious agents, early in life might play an important role in
the development of the disease.
In addition, the rising incidence of type 1 diabetes in recent
years has coincided with the introduction of a growing number of childhood
vaccines. Current guidelines for infant vaccination call for up to 18
injections that protect against 12 different infectious diseases by the time
children reach 2 years of age.
"There has been this temporal association between increased
immunization and the occurrence of type 1 diabetes," says Richard Insel,
MD, executive vice president for research at the Juvenile Diabetes Research
Foundation. He says the groups that say type 1 diabetes is caused by
immunization base this on very little data.
"In my opinion, this article is very important because it
will lay to rest the accusations that have been made suggesting that childhood
immunization causes childhood diabetes," Insel tells WebMD.
Vaccinations Don't Increase Diabetes Risk
In the study, researchers looked at all the children born in
Denmark from 1990 to 2000 for whom detailed information on vaccinations and
type 1 diabetes was available.
Among this group of 739,694 children, 681 were diagnosed with
type 1 diabetes. Researchers compared the risk of developing the disease among
unvaccinated children with children who had received at least one dose of the
following common childhood vaccines and combinations:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b
Diphtheria, tetanus, and inactivated poliovirus
Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, and inactivated
Whole-cell pertussis vaccine
Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
The study showed that there was no significant increase in
diabetes risk associated with single or escalating doses of any of the