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Type 1 Diabetes Identification in Children

Type 1 diabetes, also referred to “juvenile diabetes” due to the typically early development of the disease, is caused when pancreatic cells that produce insulin are attacked by the body, thus decreasing the individual’s ability to produce insulin without medication.  Recently, the rates of type 1 diabetes have been on the rise within the U.S. and scientists are searching to understand why this is the case.  German-based scientist, Ezio Bonifacio, has been studying children after birth with a predisposed genetic history of diabetes.  

This study focused on the T-cells, which are the culprits behind the development of type 1 diabetes, within the child’s blood and found that children with an increased risk of diabetes had T-cells that were activated when exposed to an antigen.  Though these results are preliminary and the sample size was too small to be generalizable, this does provide scientists with a direction of where to focus when looking for the development of type 1 diabetes and the possible treatment options.

(Photo from the article)