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Question:

From Mattawan, Michigan,:

I am six weeks pregnant. My son is seven years old and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age two. What should I do, in the year 2005, with this pregnancy to help my son? Should I bank the cord blood? Are there any studies in which I should participate? I do plan to breast feed as long as possible. With my son, I only breast fed for a few week.

Answer:

Your questions are understandable in your position. I wish I could give you THE answer you want.

Despite the media coverage and the POTENTIAL for stem cell assistance in type 1 diabetes, this is unproven and poorly funded. You certainly can "gamble" that, in the future, stem cells from cord blood will be found to be helpful and, thus, bank cord blood now. This is expensive and I am sure would be an out of pocket and ongoing expense for you. Recognizing these, and probably other, limitations, if you wish to pursue cord blood banking, then inquire with a blood bank near you. Your local blood bank might be able to guide you to an available facility as might the nearest University-based hematolgy-oncology center. The Internet might be a resource also.

PLEASE talk with your child's diabetes specialist about their thoughts, too. They may be able to guide you as to institutions that are working on stem cell research. The JDRF might be a resource for research studies. The NIH has a web site for clinical research also.

I understand also, your thinking about prolonging the breast feeding. The data are interesting regarding that. But, for overall nutrition, I would not advise that you breast feed for more than year. Also, remember to stay on your prenatal vitamins while you breast feed: exclusively breast fed babies are at risk of poor Vitamin D intake and rickets. The exclusively breast fed infant may warrant a daily multivitamin dropper.

DS

[Editor's comment: For more information, see the CBR (Cord Blood Registry) web site. You may also be interested in participating in the TRIGR (Trial to Reduct IDDM in the Genetically at Risk study. BH]

DTQ-20050102213825
Original posting 11 Jan 2005
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention

  
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