Research: OLMEZ and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 102


OLMEZ and colleagues, Hacettepe University, Ihsan Dogramaci Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatric Neurology, Ankara, Turkey,, have measured the selenium levels in the blood of children with acute gastro-enteritis of possible viral origin.


Selenium is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. Selenium deficiency can affect the occurrence, virulence, and disease progression in viral infections. This study was aimed at determining the selenium levels in the serum of children with acute gastroenteritis of possible viral origin and the effect of selenium levels on the severity of the disease.


In this prospective study, blood samples were taken from 109 children aged 2 to 24 months with diarrhoea of less than 8 days' duration admitted to hospital. The blood samples were taken an admission and 7-10 days after recovery. 43 healthy children served as a control group.


The average selenium levels of the children with gastroenteritis at admission were significantly lower than those post recovery (62.4 micrograms/dl vs. 81.7 micrograms/dl). The average of the control group was 74.4 micrograms/dl and thus between the two values in the study group. No correlation was detected between serum selenium levels and frequency of vomiting and purging, duration of diarrhoea, dehydration, breastfeeding, gender, and severity score of the disease.


Further studies on changes in selenium levels during infectious diseases and the effects of selenium on related morbidity and mortality are required in order to form conclusions about a possible need for supplementation.


Olmez A, Yalcin S, Yurdakoek K, Coskun T. Serum selenium levels in acute gastroenteritis of possible viral origin. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics 50 (2): 78-81, Apr 2004.

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