Early Disease Detection

Precursor Identification Helps Prevent Type 1 Diabetes in Kids

A team of German researchers have devised a method of predicting the development of diabetes in children through a blood exam.

type 1 diabetes prevention using autoantibodiesThe study showed that two islet antiautobodies can help doctors predict the onset of diabetes in children. This was evident when almost 70 percent of the kids who possess the two identified autoantibodies acquired Type 1 Diabetes within ten years, according to a news release.

The findings hold much significance, considering that Type 1 Diabetes is a disease that involves an incorrect response of the body’s immune system. Unlike its Type 2 counterpart, Type 1 Diabetes is not acquired by wrong diet or lifestyle.

Dr. Jay Skyler of the Diabetes Research Institute in Florida understands the importance of this study in terms of diabetes prevention. “If you have two or more autoantibodies, it’s nearly inevitable that you will develop the disease,” Skyler said.

Dr. Anette Ziegler of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and her fellow researchers reported the findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association last June 18. The scope of the research involved about 13,000 kids 15 years old and under, living in Germany, Finland and Colorado.

According to Dr. Joel Zonszein of the Montefiore Medical Center’s Clinical Diabetes Center, while the study is considered a breakthrough, autoantibodies are just “clues” for a potential diabetes development. “They are just markers; they are not causing the disease,” said Zonszein. Furthermore, he added that “we’re still a long way from stopping the development of type 1 diabetes.”

The study was limited to Caucasians, and might have different results for other populations.

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