Project 095

Project Title:

A Geographical Analysis of Risk Factors for Childhood Type 1 Diabetes in Northern Ireland over Two Censuses


Professor Chris Patterson, Dr Chris Cardwell and Jeannette Aldworth


Queen's University Belfast



Project Summary:

The Northern Ireland Childhood Diabetes Register (NICDR) has prospectively recorded over 2,500 cases of childhood Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) since 1989.  Results show that Northern Ireland has one of the highest rates in the world, and this rate is increasing at approximately 3% per annum with nearly a doubling in the rate observed during the past 25 years. 

The geographical distribution of Type 1 Diabetes appears to show an unusual pattern with higher rates found in rural, rather than urban areas (1), and in more affluent rather than deprived areas (2). However, these analyses were carried out on area-based measures and we wish to extend the analysis to person- or household-based measures of socio-economic status available in NILS.  We also wish to investigate some novel risk factors for the disease such as stressful life events which, it has been hypothesized (3), can trigger the disease.

We would like to analyse relationships with the risk of Type 1 Diabetes at as small a level of aggregation as possible, ideally individuals or households.  Specifically, socio-economic status of household; significant life events such as effect of marital breakdown/deaths in the household; rural vs urban environment; rateable valuation of privately-owned housing; religion and ethnicity.

We would also like to assess educational performance of children with Type 1 Diabetes through academic/vocational qualifications as children with Type 1 Diabetes typically have poorer school attendance records (4).


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