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Friday, December 15th 2006

Are Infectious Agents Predisposing You To Brain Tumors?

The more little siblings you have (they’re all giant germ sponges), the more likely you are to develop a CNS tumor later in life (at least if you live in Sweden)

The researchers analyzed more than 13,000 cases of nervous system tumors in Sweden, data collected over the course of more than 70 years. They found people with four or more siblings were twice as likely to develop such tumors as people with no siblings.

“The number of siblings a person has indicates they were exposed at an early age to infections, since children come in close contact with each other and thereby share exposures to many infectious agents,” explained researcher Andrea Altieri, an epidemiologist with the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. “Evidence comes from several studies that show that children attending day care to children cared for at home have a two- to four-fold increased risk of different types of infections.”

Here’s the abstract in Neurology and the full paper if you wish to pay for it.