Oct 15, 2019

Genetic testing may prevent ER visits for kids with Type I diabetes

Researchers at the University of Virginia are developing genetic testing to keep children with undiagnosed Type I diabetes out of emergency rooms, NPR reports.

Why it matters: Almost 50% of all children who develop Type 1 diabetes end up hospitalized in a coma because they didn't know they had the autoimmune disease, per the report.

Type I diabetes is difficult to track genetically because no single gene is responsible, but scientists have identified all the variants and about 90% of the known genetic risk.

  • The genetic test was used to find people at highest risk, followed by periodic blood tests to look for the troubling antibodies. Of the roughly 2,000 kids tested to date, about 60 carry the higher genetic risk.

Yes, but: Most kids with positive Type 1 diabetes results won't get Type 1 diabetes, and half of those who do will not have been detected by a genetic test, due to nongenetic risk factors.

Go deeper: Tech companies are looking to help people manage their diabetes

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