The appearance of celiac disease in infancy has often been related to the time when gluten is introduced into the diet, and more recently, to the kind of milk received in the early months. This retrospective study attempts to clarify the relation between breast-feeding and gluten introduction to the onset of symptoms of the disease. One hundred forty-six children with celiac disease, aged from 4 months to 11 years, were studied. The timing and types of feeds were recorded as well as the presenting symptoms of the disease. Data were analyzed by nonparametric statistical methods, as well as by parametric analysis after appropriate transformation. Children breast-fed for 3 months or more showed a marked delay in the onset of the disease and a longer latency time from gluten introduction to onset of disease, when compared with bottle-fed children. This relationship was present for both statistical analyses and was unrelated to the age at gluten introduction into the diet. Onset of disease was positively correlated to the duration of breast-feeding and not related to the age at gluten introduction.
(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.