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Down’s syndrome in infants of diabetic mothers
  1. Institut fur Humangenetik
  2. Humboldt Universitat zu Berlin
  3. Charité Campus Virchow Klinikum
  4. Augustenburger Platz 1
  5. 13353 Berlin, Germany

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    Editor,—In a recent paper Narchi and Kulaylat1 analysed the prevalence (erroneously termed incidence2) of trisomy 21 in children of mothers with diabetes (7/1870) and in non-diabetic mothers (28/20 430) and found it to be significantly higher in the former. All seven cases in the diabetes group occurred in mothers with gestational diabetes.

    The authors concluded, that: (1) Maternal gestational diabetes is an independent risk factor for Down’s syndrome, irrespective of maternal age, as in an analysis of their data stratified by age, all five age groups showed a higher relative risk for Down’s syndrome in diabetic mothers; (2) Down’s syndrome should be added to the list of congenital anomalies known to occur more frequently in infants of diabetic mothers.

    Table 2 in their paper does not fully support their hypothesis. As can be seen from their data, age is a confounding factor for gestational diabetes …

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