Infant Diabetes: No More Finger Pricks for Peyton!


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— Just over one million people in the U.S. are living with Type 1 diabetes … including infants. The treatment for these little patients often involves finger pricks throughout the day to test blood sugar levels. Now, for one little girl, a new type of technology eliminates that difficult step with infant diabetes.

For 21-month-old Peyton, nothing is better than hanging out with a good book. For her mom, it’s a welcome relief. Not so long ago …

“She was at my mom’s house and she had called me and said, ‘Something is different, you know, she’s drinking six bottles and her mouth is sandpaper,’” recalled Peyton’s mom, Christina Duncan.

At eight months, Peyton was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Her pancreas wasn’t producing insulin. Untreated, it could lead to coma or even death.  Infant diabetes

“She is the youngest patient with Type 1 diabetes I ever took care of,” shared Daniela Cohen, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

(Read Full Interview)

The diagnosis meant Peyton would need insulin every day of her life.

“And the other thing is, we need to check the blood sugar all the time,” explained Dr. Cohen.

What makes it more challenging is that a baby as young as Peyton can’t tell us how she feels. Infant diabetes

“Her blood sugar can fluctuate in like 30 to 40 minutes,” Christina recalled.

“So, most parents do a finger stick ten to 20 times a day,” Dr. Cohen illustrated.

That’s why Doctor Daniela Cohen introduced Peyton’s mom, Christina, to a kind of blood glucose sensor called the Dexcom G6. It’s FDA approved for kids two and over, but doctors felt Peyton was a good candidate for it.

“This sensor is inserted under the skin, checks the blood sugar every five minutes, and puts it on a screen for the parents,” Described Dr. Cohen.

An alarm also sounds when the numbers fall out of range so Peyton can get a snack or insulin to correct it.

“It has put our minds at ease. She gets to do what other kids are doing,” Christina shared.

Unlike other blood sugar sensors, the Dexcom G6 needs to be changed just once every ten days. Parents can even monitor the levels from their cell phones. Most doctors say the benefits are enormous.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Jennifer Winter, Field Producer; Rusty Reed, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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BACKGROUND: Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough, or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.


DIAGNOSING DIABETES: There are several ways to diagnose diabetes and each way usually needs to be repeated on a second day to confirm diagnoses of diabetes. Testing should be carried out in a health care setting. If a doctor determines that a person’s blood sugar level is very high, or if they have classic symptoms of high blood sugar in addition to one positive test, a doctor may not require a second test to diagnose diabetes. The A1C test measures a person’s average blood sugar for the past two to three months. The advantages of being diagnosed this way are that a person doesn’t have to fast or drink anything. Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) checks your fasting blood sugar levels after not eating or drinking (except water) for at least 8 hours before the test and is usually done first thing in the morning before breakfast. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is a two-hour test that checks a person’s blood sugar levels before and two hours after they drink a special sweet drink and tells the doctor how the body processes sugar. Random Plasma Glucose Test checks blood at any time of the day when someone is experiencing severe diabetes symptoms.


NEW WAY TO TREAT TYPE ONE AND TWO DIABETES: May-Yun Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at UTSW and her colleagues, including William L. Holland, Ph.D., a former assistant professor of internal medicine at UTSW who is now at the University of Utah, and Philipp E. Scherer, Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and cell biology at UTSW and director of UTSW’s Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research, used manmade proteins that act like human antibodies and help the immune system identify and fight against the glucagon receptor in mouse models of diabetes. In one model, called PANIC-ATTAC, a genetic mutation caused beta cells to selectively die off when the test mice received a chemical treatment. Once these animals’ beta cells were depleted, the researchers administered monoclonal antibodies against the glucagon receptor. Weekly treatments with the antibodies substantially lowered the rodents’ blood sugar, an effect that continued even weeks after the treatments stopped. Further investigation showed that the number of cells in the pancreas of these animals significantly increased, including beta cells. Searching for the source of this impact, the researchers used a technique called lineage tracing to label their alpha cells. When they followed these alpha cells through rounds of cell divisions, they found that treatments with monoclonal antibodies pushed some of the glucagon-producing alpha cell population to convert into insulin-producing beta cells. (Source:





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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Daniela Cohen, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist

Read the entire Q&A