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In a prospective study of insulin-dependent diabetic women who in the 1950s were involved in a drug trial, 13 (14%) of those who were still alive 27 years later were reported to have acquired thyroid disease or pernicious anaemia during the follow-up period. This suggests that their diabetes mellitus was a manifestation of a more generalised polyendocrine disorder. The pregnancy history of these 13 women differed strikingly from that of the other 82 insulin-dependent diabetic women: in the diabetic women who subsequently acquired other endocrine disease 69% of pregnancies resulted in a fetal or infant death, compared with 44% in other insulin-dependent diabetic women (p less than 0.01). This risk increased with pregnancy order, the odds ratio of an unfavourable outcome in women who later acquired thyroid disease or pernicious anaemia, compared with the other diabetic women, being 1.2 for the first pregnancy, 3.1 for the second pregnancy, 7.3 for the third pregnancy, and 14.0 for the fourth pregnancy. The mean birthweight of offspring of the women with other endocrine disease was substantially lower than the mean birthweight of offspring of other diabetic mothers (2977 g and 3430 g, respectively). These differences in birthweight and mortality could not be explained by the severity of the mothers' diabetes at the time of their pregnancies, and were evident even before the diabetes was diagnosed.


Journal article



Publication Date





4 - 7


Abortion, Spontaneous, Adult, Anemia, Pernicious, Autoimmune Diseases, Birth Weight, Clinical Trials as Topic, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Endocrine System Diseases, Female, Fetal Death, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Newborn, Diseases, Parity, Pregnancy, Pregnancy in Diabetics, Prospective Studies, Thyroid Diseases, Time Factors