Summary: Children infected with Covid-19 are more likely to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Researchers found a 72 percent increase in new type 1 diabetes among those under 18 who contracted Covid-19.
Source: Case Western Reserve
Children infected with Covid-19 are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes (T1D), according to a new study that examined the electronic health records of more than 1 million patients aged 18 and younger.
In a study published today in the journal JAMA Network OpenResearchers at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine report that children and adolescents infected with Covid-19 have a higher risk of developing T1D within six months.
The findings show a 72% increase in T1D diagnoses among Covid-19 patients aged 18 and younger—although the research suggests it’s unclear whether Covid-19 is driving new onsets of T1D.
About 187,000 children and adolescents under the age of 20 live with T1D in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Type 1 diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease,” said Pamela Davis, Distinguished University Professor and Arlene H. and Curtis F. Garvin, research professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, co-author.
“It usually happens when the immune cells of the body attack the cells that produce insulin and stop the production of insulin, which is the cause of the disease. Covid has been suggested to increase autoimmune responses and our current findings reinforce that idea.
The team analyzed the electronic health records of nearly 1.1 million patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United States and 13 other countries between March 2020 and December 2021, as well as electronic health records of non-diagnosed patients. – A respiratory infection related to covid during the same period.
The study population was further divided into two groups: patients up to 9 years of age and 10-18 years of age. After careful statistical adjustment for age, demographics, and family history of diabetes, there were 285,628 patients in each group for a total of 571,256 patients.
Among more than 571,000 pediatric patients, the research team found:
- Within six months of SARS-CoV2 infection, 123 patients (0.043%) received a new diagnosis of T1D, and 72 patients (0.025%) received a new diagnosis following a non-Covid respiratory infection, a 72% increase in new diagnoses.
- At one, three, and six months after infection, the odds of being diagnosed with T1D were greater for those infected with SARS-CoV2 compared to those with non-Covid-infected respiratory tract infections. Similar results have been reported in infant-9-year-old and 10- to 18-year-old patients.
“Families with a high risk of type 1 diabetes in their children should be alert for signs of post-Covid diabetes. And pediatricians should be alert to new cases of type 1 diabetes, especially since the Omicron variant of COVID spreads rapidly among children,” Davis said.
“We will see a significant increase in this disease in the coming months and years. It is a lifelong challenge for people with type 1 diabetes, and the increase in incidence represents a huge number of affected children.”
Rong Shu, a professor of biomedical informatics at the School of Medicine and director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery, said more research is needed to investigate whether SARS-CoV2 infection increases the risk of new cases of T1D. Pediatric patient population, risk factors, and how to treat pediatric Covid-19-associated T1D.
“We are also investigating possible changes in the development of type 2 diabetes in children after SARS-CoV2 infection,” he said.
T1D occurs mostly in children, while type 2 diabetes (T2D) is known as “adult-onset diabetes” and develops over time, often because the patient becomes resistant to the effects of insulin and later when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin, according to the CDC.
Case Western Reserve’s research team also includes David Kaelber, professor of internal medicine, pediatrics, and population and quantitative health sciences, and medical students Ellen Kendall and Veronica Olaker.
Previous covid-related studies led by the CWRU team have shown that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases by 50-80% in older adults with covid, and that those with dementia are twice as likely to develop covid.
So the news of covid-19 and diabetes research
Preliminary study: The findings are shown in JAMA Network Open