Researchers Try A Genetic Diabetes Test To Prevent Emergency Hospitalizations

Nearly half of all children who develop Type 1 diabetes don't know they have the disease until they end up in a coma in the hospital.

Researchers in Virginia have set out to see if a genetic test for Type 1 diabetes can eliminate many of those emergencies.


"The risk of Type 1 diabetes is about half genetic and half unknown," says Stephen Rich, director of the Center for Public Health Genomics at the University of Virginia. His team developed a test that can identify people who carry that genetic susceptibility.


Unlike most genetic conditions, there's no single gene responsible for Type 1 diabetes risk. Over the years, scientists have identified dozens of gene variations that each contribute a small amount. The test developed at U.Va. looks at all those variants and explains about 90 percent of the known genetic risk.


"In a complex disease like Type 1 diabetes, we're probably unique in that we understand the vast majority of the genetic risk," he says. In comparison, most tests that identify multiple gene variants linked to a disease or trait explain only a smaller fraction of the genetic component – and as a result they are far less useful.

continue reading on NPR

#health #healthcare #diabetes