Researchers at the University of Colorado announced that they have simplified the method in which doctors screen children for type 1 diabetes.
In an article published in the February 15 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers explain that the technique—called IAA screening—is the best and earliest method of detecting type 1 in infants.
George Eisenbarth, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center conducted a follow-up study of 934 children with a genetic disposition for developing type 1. The children’s blood was screened for anti-insulin antibodies when they were between seven and 10 months of age.
Four out of five of the children who tested positive for the antibodies before the age of one developed diabetes within three years. Of the 929 children who tested negative for the antibodies, only one has developed diabetes to date.
Further analysis showed that the higher the level of the antibodies in newly diagnosed, the earlier diabetes developed.
In a January 19 Medscape Wire report, Eisenbarth said, “To predict childhood diabetes, we look for certain autoantibodies . The presence of more than one autoantibody indicates an extremely high risk of developing diabetes in the next five to 10 years.”
Eisenbarth further stated, “It is important to know who’s at risk because one in 300 children will develop the illness and the incidence, especially among the youngest children, is increasing worldwide.”
Researchers have successfully prevented diabetes in animals by suppressing the immune system. They have yet to show that the technique prevents diabetes in children.