Appendicitis during childhood almost halved the risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis (AS) later in life, while admission to a hospital with a childhood respiratory tract infection increased the risk, a study presented at the EULAR 2016 conference found. These findings suggest that the way the immune system responds during childhood, either by influencing the risk of a severe childhood infection, or by being changed by such an infection, may explain how AS develops.

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