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How do childhood diagnoses of type 1 diabetes cluster in time?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Colin Muirhead, Professor Timothy Cheetham, Dr Simon Court, Dr Richard McNallyORCiD



Background: Previous studies have indicated that type 1 diabetes may have an infectious origin. The presence of temporal clustering - an irregular temporal distribution of cases - would provide additional evidence that occurrence may be linked with an agent that displays epidemicity. We tested for the presence and form of temporal clustering using population-based data from northeast England. Materials and methods: The study analysed data on children aged 0-14 years diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during the period 1990–2007 and resident in a defined geographical region of northeast England (Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne and North Tyneside). Tests for temporal clustering by time of diagnosis were applied using a modified version of the Potthoff-Whittinghill method. Results: The study analysed 468 cases of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. There was highly statistically significant evidence of temporal clustering over periods of a few months and over longer time intervals (p<0.001). The clustering within years did not show a consistent seasonal pattern. Conclusions: The study adds to the growing body of literature that supports the involvement of infectious agents in the aetiology of type 1 diabetes in children. Specifically it suggests that the precipitating agent or agents involved might be an infection that occurs in “mini-epidemics”.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Muirhead CR, Cheetham TD, Court S, Begon M, McNally RJQ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS One

Year: 2013

Volume: 8

Issue: 4

Print publication date: 03/04/2013

Date deposited: 09/07/2013

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060489

Notes: Article no. e60489 is 6 pp.


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