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Dietary gluten and type 1 diabetes

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 19 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3867
  1. Maija E Miettinen, researcher1,
  2. Suvi M Virtanen, professor1
  1. 1National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence to: maija.miettinen{at}

A potential association that deserves closer scrutiny

Until recently, incidence of type 1 diabetes has been increasing in the western world, pointing towards environmental triggers in the disease process. Despite decades of intensive research, we still cannot identify the factors responsible for the increase, and therefore have no means to prevent new cases. At the moment, special interest lies in the maternal and childhood dietary factors. Large scale prospective studies with carefully collected data are needed to define and confirm associations so that effective interventions can finally be planned and implemented.

In a linked article (doi:10.1136/bmj.k3547),1 Antvorskov and colleagues investigated the association between maternal gluten intake during pregnancy and risk of type 1 diabetes in offspring. The authors analysed data from the large Danish National Birth Cohort, covering about a third of all pregnancies in Denmark during the recruitment period of 1996-2002. More than 70 000 pregnant women reported their diet with a food frequency questionnaire …

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