Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic condition that often develops in early childhood, though it can present later in life for some. Researchers believe that it stems from a variety genetic and environmental risk factors. Oftentimes individuals do not realize they have T1D until they experience an episode of hyperglycemia or diabetic ketoacidosis. These are serious and potentially life-threatening conditions that must be treated immediately.
Recognizing risk factors early on can help doctors to be proactive and better manage children’s health to reduce complications. A recent study from The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) involved 7,798 children from around the world who were identified as being at high risk of developing T1D. The study followed them for nine years, starting at birth, and assigned participants a risk score based on “genetics, clinical factors such as family history of diabetes, and their count of islet autoantibodies – biomarkers known to be implicated in type 1 diabetes.”
This approach improved newborn screenings and the ability to predict the development of T1D. In addition, it allowed doctors to educate families about the disease early on. By more accurately assessing risk, researchers can target clinical trials for preventing the disease to those children who may benefit most. Early detection also allows for improved treatment and management of the disease from the start, which may reduce complications.
Recognizing risk of type 1 diabetes and developing effective prevention strategies is essential. Researchers are continually advancing their knowledge and testing different therapies and approaches to slow or stop T1D. This is an exciting step forward in prevention and treatment efforts. The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see how this study could influence diabetes management.
Research across all stages of the disease is critical. The DRC empowers early-career scientists to pursue novel, peer-reviewed research studies focused on type 1 diabetes by providing key funding. One hundred percent of research funds go directly to the scientists. To learn more about current projects and how to help, visit https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.