Babies Who Gain Weight Quickly May Be at Higher Risk of Diabetes
His study is limited to one group of children, all of Dutch descent, in one country. The next step is to check these results in other groups of people and other countries, Bruining and Furlanetto agree.
Eventually, this study may help pediatricians identify high-risk children and suggest ways to prevent or control childhood diabetes, says Lois Jovanovic, MD. If we learn that the pancreas malfunctions early in life, leading to the production of these abnormal antibodies, we might find ways to fight this effect, he says. Jovanovic is the director of the Sansum Medical Research Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif.
"This finding is important for the research community, which is trying to understand the causes and progression of the disease," says Furlanetto. "However, there are so many overweight infants that overweight by itself is not a good indicator of whether a child is likely to develop diabetes."
Families that include one member with type 1 diabetes are at increased risk for additional cases, he says. "Those families should consider enrolling in the Diabetes Prevention Trial, which is currently recruiting participants," he says.
This trial is a large research project involving 350 sites in the United States and Canada, designed to find out whether it's possible to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes. About 100,000 nondiabetic relatives of people who have this type of diabetes will be screened to determine whether they're at increased risk, by checking for the presence of certain antibodies. Those who qualify will participate in a research project to test different methods of prevention. For more information, call the trial's central information office at (800) 425-8361, or consult your doctor.
For more information from WebMD, see our Diseases and Conditions page on Diabetes.