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From Marlboro, Massachusetts, USA:

In our neighborhood, there are three houses in a row and three children with diabetes. One is a teen and has had diabetes for several years. The other two have children ages 3 and 7 who were diagnosed within two months of each other. They had frequent contact with each other (playing/visiting) and surely exposed each other to the colds and viruses they had. They also, I believe, share the same pediatrician. Who can I contact that would be interested in viewing the history of these two children for a commonality that may point to a trigger for diabetes? Who can I contact to give information on our child's history to be used in the search for identification of the trigger?


With an incidence of only about 18 new onset cases per 100,000 of population per year amongst those of Caucasian descent in the U.S. and most of Western Europe it is still rather a surprise when stories like the one you describe crop up. They do of course, and have been regarded as a statistical aberration. This of course is really another way of saying that the sample is really too small to initiate any meaningful study, a bit like those reports of an increased incidence of leukemia in children living near high tension electrical cables.

There is a study going on in several centers in the U.S. to try to find out what the immunopathology triggers are. It is called DAISY (Diabetes and other AutoImmune Studies in Youth). What they are doing is to screen a large number of cord blood samples for infants at high risk for developing Type 1 Diabetes on the basis of what is called HLA genetic typing. These infants are then being followed until they develop antibodies and in the interval all kinds of supposedly relevant data is recorded e.g., virus infections, cow's milk consumption, etc. Unfortunately, it will be some time before the study provides any answers.


Original posting 3 Mar 1998
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention


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