Older Maternal Age Linked to Incidence of Type 1 Diabetes

Study finds a weak but significant increase in risk of diabetes as age of mother increases

TUESDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A small percentage of older mothers may be more likely to give birth to children with type 1 diabetes, according to a meta-analysis published in the February issue of Diabetes.

To determine if children born to older mothers are at increased risk for the condition, Chris R. Cardwell, Ph.D., of Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom, and colleagues pooled and analyzed data from five cohort and 25 case-control studies involving 14,724 patients with type 1 diabetes.

While the studies exhibited some heterogeneity because of inconsistent case and control response rates, the reviewers found that there was an overall 5 percent increase in childhood type 1 diabetes risk for each five-year increase in the age of the mother (risks ranged from an odds ratio of 0.88 for mothers younger than 20 years to an odds ratio of 1.10 for mothers aged 35 or older). Among 14 studies judged to have a low risk of bias, there was an increase in diabetes risk of 10 percent per five-year increase in maternal age (risks ranged from an odds ratio of 0.81 for mothers younger than 20 years to an odds ratio of 1.18 for mothers aged 35 or older).

"There was evidence of a weak but significant linear increase in the risk of childhood type 1 diabetes across the range of maternal ages, but the magnitude of association varied between studies. A very small percentage of the increase in the incidence of childhood type 1 diabetes in recent years could be explained by increases in maternal age," the authors write.

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