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Effective type 1 diabetes screening risk score discovered

By Editor
18th January 2019
Paediatrics, Research Screening Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes Type 2 prevention

A new risk score has been developed which experts say could be a more effective way to screen for type 1 diabetes.

It works by taking into account detailed genetic information known to increase the chances of the autoimmune condition.

Is it thought this pioneering approach could make life easier when it comes to screening babies deemed ay high risk for type 1 diabetes.

The score could also be used at time of diagnosis to help decide if the person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, which require very different treatments.

The research teams from the University of Exeter and the Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle worked collaboratively and together found the risk score, known as T1DGRS2, was nearly twice as efficient at identifying babies at high risk of type 1 diabetes as existing methods in a recent study.

At the moment screening babies involve measuring autoantibodies-proteins in the blood, indicating beta cell destruction.

The research, funded by Diabetes UK, found the new test was also better at predicting type 1 diabetes in adults in the general population.

Being able to identify type 1 diabetes before it has properly developed could help doctors prevent the condition from becoming severe in the future.

The report’s senior author Dr Richard Oram from Exeter University said: “Prediction of what diseases we might get in the future is an important area, and type 1 diabetes has a strong genetic element that we are now able to measure very well.

“Measurement of the type 1 diabetes genetic risk score could help predict who will develop the condition from early life could help with research into potential early life interventions, and with classifying diabetes correctly at diagnosis.”

Co-author Dr William Hagopian, from the Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle, said: “Gathering all this genetic information together allows the test to perform better. This makes prediction of type 1 diabetes among all children much more affordable in public health settings.
“Parents can be warned to watch for early symptoms to avoid hospitalisation for life-threatening complications. Kids with the greatest future risk can get access to research trials to develop ways to delay or prevent progression to clinical diabetes.”
To read the study, click here.

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