The role of perinatal factors in diabetes type I has been studied extensively, but scientific literature shows little evidence of an association of perinatal factors with diabetes type II (DMII). This study compares birth order, maternal and paternal age, and number of older brothers in patients diagnosed with DMII and control samples. A total of 423 individuals aged 20 to 60 were recruited from six different community hospitals as part of a larger study of perinatal influences on adult disease. Resident physicians identified subjects from medical charts who met inclusion criteria. Data were collected by medical students from both inpatients and outpatients using questionnaires. Seventy-eight (18%) of the study subjects reported a diagnosis of adult-onset diabetes alone, while 72 reported diabetes in conjunction with one or more other chronic diseases. Control groups included 105 subjects who were not patients (nonpatient controls) and 174 subjects who had other disorders, ie, low back pain, coronary artery disease, fractures, or a combination (patient controls). When comparing all diabetics with all control subjects there was no association of maternal age, paternal age, or birth order with DMII. There was, however, a difference in the probands' number of older brothers. Diabetics who were not first born or singletons had significantly more older brothers than comparable nonpatient controls (p < .05). Our sample limitations included an ethnic imbalance in controls and DMII patients, and this constrained the effective sample size. Our data support a relationship of DMII and number of older males born to the mother. Although we were unable to confirm earlier reports of higher birth order in DMII patients, a larger sample might be helpful in elucidating early developmental effects on DMII susceptibility.
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