Type 1 Screening for Children
In the United States, 40 percent of children with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed after developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a dangerous condition resulting from lack of insulin. If parents knew their kids were at high risk, they could spot the symptoms early and get a diagnosis before glucose got too high. German researchers screened 90,632 children in the general population ages 2 to 5 and found that 280 of them had antibodies that indicated an attack on insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Over the next three years, 25 percent of the kids who tested positive developed type 1 diabetes. Less than 5 percent of them had DKA at diagnosis, presumably because their parents were on alert for symptoms. The detection rate of future type 1 diabetes in the general population was slightly less than 1 child in 1,000; this study may help inform whether population-wide screening is worth the cost and the screening burden on parents and children. For details, visit trialnet.org.
Source: JAMA, published online Jan. 28, 2020