Birth during the moderate weather seasons is associated with early onset of type 1 diabetes in the Mediterranean area

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2020 Oct;36(7):e3318. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.3318. Epub 2020 Apr 19.


Aim: To assess the association of seasonal and perinatal parameters with early age of type 1 diabetes (T1D) onset.

Methods: A cross-sectional review of all medical records of T1D patients born between the years 1990 and 2005, and diagnosed before/by the age of 10 years, from 13 university-affiliated paediatric medical centres in Israel, was performed. Data included: gender, ethnicity, seasons of birth and disease onset, birth gestational age and weight, and autoimmune diseases of the probands and their first-degree family members. Statistical analysis included the Chi-square test or Mann-Whitney test, as appropriate and multivariate regression analysis.

Results: Enrolled were 1571 T1D patients at a median age of T1D onset 6.9 years (IQR 4.4,8.4); 336 of them presented before 4 years of age. The median age of this group was 2.5 years (IQR 1.7,3.2), and of the 1235 patients who presented after 4 years of age, median presentation age was 7.5 years (IQR 6.1,8.8). Multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that a more recent birth year; OR = 1.06, 95% CI 1.02-1.1, P = 0.003, and birth during the moderate weather months (September, October, March, and April) were significantly associated with younger age at T1D onset; OR = 1.68, 95% CI 1.17-2.4, P = 0.005.

Conclusions: Our novel finding demonstrates the association between younger than 4 years old age at presentation and birth during moderate weather months. The results also support previous reports, that there is a slight increase in the annual incidence of T1D in the youngest age groups.

Keywords: birth season; early onset; type 1 diabetes mellitus.