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Question:

From Arkansas, USA:

My husband has MODY. We have three children ages 9, 6, and 3. What are the odds of them becoming diabetic? Should we be taking any measures now that will prevent our children from developing this disease? My husband is Hispanic and has a family history of diabetes. I am Caucasian with no family history of diabetes.

Answer:

Your question is a very difficult one to answer with much precision; but let me explain why. First of all, MODY [Maturity Onset Diabetes of Youth] is at least three genetically distinct conditions and in the commonest of these, MODY2 there are at least six separate variants. Because exact laboratory diagnosis is both expensive and hard to organise it is seldom carried out and the diagnosis tends to be assigned to any young person with a strong family history of diabetes who does not require insulin and who is often a bit overweight and especially if they are of Hispanic descent.

It may also be difficult to distinguish MODY from another form of non insulin requiring diabetes especially involving Hispanic people which is called Type 1B Diabetes. The difficulty then of getting an exact diagnosis together with the fact that they are relatively uncommon condition anyway, has meant that there have been very few studies in which enough examples have been assembled to really study the genetics and especially to be able to predict the chances of children being involved.

However, in the commonest form of MODY (MODY2), which makes up about 50% of all cases, the inheritance is as an autosomal dominant. What this means is that half of your husband's children will carry the gene for MODY2; but this does not mean that they will necessarily become diabetic as there are clearly other factors involved.

In the circumstances, about all you can do prevent the clinical appearance is to careful to avoid excessive weight gain and to encourage vigorous exercise several times a week. And finally there is a need to be have your doctor be alert to this possibility if they become sick.

DO'B

Original posting 26 Apr 1998
Posted to Genetics and Heredity

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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