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Study examining role of genetics and environment in type 1 diabetes
Date:2/25/2009

nstructions on what to do to keep their child from developing the disease.

TEDDY started enrolling patients in 2004 and to date about 90 percent of participants who have developed type 1 diabetes did not have an immediate family history. "It hits them out of left field because the genes have been traveling all through mom's side of the family and dad's side of the family and maybe that magical combination has not happened until this particular baby," Mrs. Hopkins says. Each gene has two halves and each parent contributes half so there are four possible combinations for any one gene in a child. A child with one or both of the two high-risk genes along with a first-degree relative with the disease has about a 14 percent or higher risk of getting type 1, Mrs. Hopkins says. This family history group has been the highest TEDDY enrollers, likely because they know firsthand what it's like living with the disease, she says. In turn, the TEDDY research team provides extremely close monitoring including the earliest possible disease diagnosis. "There are three different proteins we can scan for in the blood that are basically byproducts of the process of the immune system attacking the pancreas," Mrs. Hopkins says. While there is still no surefire way to stop the attack, an early diagnosis allows children to start taking insulin early and at least delay destruction, the researchers say. It's a stark contrast to how the autoimmune disease is typically diagnosed: gravely ill children are brought to an emergency room where parents find out the pancreas is essentially wrecked.

The first children enrolled in TEDDY in 2004 and to date no Georgia participants have developed type 1 diabetes, although several now have autoantibodies that show a diagnosis is likely in their near future. One Florida participant has developed the disease. Researchers say the differences they are finding between the children who get it and those who don't are invaluable.


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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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