Unusual Diabetes: Understanding the Diabetes Spectrum


ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Are you aware there are more types of diabetes than just type one and type two? Type one is often diagnosed in children who are left dealing with a lifetime of insulin injections. Meanwhile, adults are diagnosed with type two diabetes and are treated with medications and injections. But thousands of people don’t fall into either category and are diagnosed with unusual forms of hard-to-treat diabetes. Now researchers are hoping a nationwide clinical trial will help them find new treatments. Diabetes spectrum

Sixteen-year-old Raquel Gebel doesn’t let anything slow her down. Doing all this, while losing her eyesight.

“I can tell there’s a wall there, but if I just didn’t hear, I didn’t know anyone was in the room, I wouldn’t be able to tell you guys, you’re sitting there,” explained Raquel.

Diagnosed as a five-year-old with Wolfram Syndrome, Raquel, with her mom by her side, has joined clinical trial after clinical trial in hopes of finding a way to stop this disease.

“As a parent, you’re sitting there going, what do you do with your child who can’t see and can’t hear?” shared Stephanie Snow Gebel, Raquel’s Mom.

Wolfram Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as type one diabetes in children. Children experience the same blood sugar problems, but unlike type one diabetes …

“Most cases are caused by a change in the single gene,” said Fumihiko Urano, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine with Washington University School of Medicine.

(Read Full Interview)

Now there is a new nationwide clinical trial, Radiant, which is enrolling thousands of people who fall on the diabetes spectrum. Researchers hope to build a comprehensive database of genetic and clinical data, allowing doctors across the world to more easily identify unusual forms of diabetes and identify new genes associated with rare forms of the disease.

“We may be able to design a personalized treatment for each patient with diabetes,” continued Dr. Urano.

The ultimate goal, improve and save the lives of people, like Raquel, living with an unusual form of diabetes.

“I truly believe soon I’ll be able to see again. There’ll be a cure,” said Raquel.

Right now, there is no cure for Wolfram Syndrome, just medications to treat the symptoms. Most patients die by the age of 40 unless their medical condition is managed very well. That’s why the Radiant trial is so important. Nationwide, the study is being held at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the University of Chicago, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4976

CHILDHOOD DIABETES BACKGROUND: Type 1 diabetes is the more common type of diabetes in children. This occurs when the pancreas does not make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose, or sugar, get into your cells to give them energy. Without insulin being properly made, too much sugar will stay in your blood. More recently younger people are getting type 2 diabetes due to obesity. To decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, have children maintain a healthy weight, be sure they are physically active, have them eat smaller portions of healthy foods, and limit time with the TV, computer, and video.

(Source: https://medlineplus.gov/diabetesinchildrenandteens.html)

CHILDHOOD DIABETES DIAGNOSIS: Diagnosing for children with diabetes involves a random blood test, which is the primary screening test for type 1 diabetes, a glycated hemoglobin test which indicates your child’s average sugar level for the previous three months, and a fasting blood sugar test, which involves a blood sample taken after your child has fasted overnight. Treatment for diabetes varies per child as you will have to work with your doctor to keep their blood sugar as normal as possible. Ways your doctor will suggest treating diabetes are, taking insulin, carbohydrate counting, frequent blood sugar monitoring, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly. Signs of low blood sugar include, shakiness, hunger, sweating, irritability and other mood changes, difficulty concentrating or confusion, dizziness or lightheadedness, loss of coordination, slurred speech and loss of consciousness. Teaching your child these signs is vital to maintaining a normal blood sugar level. If they are experiencing these symptoms, they need to consume 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as fruit juice, glucose tablets, hard candy, regular (not diet) soda or another source of sugar. Foods with added fat, such as chocolate or ice cream, don’t raise blood sugar as quickly because fat slows down the absorption of the sugar. Then, retest their blood sugar to make sure it’s normal after 15 minutes.

(Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes-in-children/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355312)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: A clinical trial for pediatric diabetes has begun in the U.S. using an artificial pancreas system which automatically monitors the blood glucose levels. It is safe and effective for use in children as young as six years old with type 1 diabetes. Earlier trials of this device showed that it was safe to use for children 14 and up; now the age has been lowered to six and research indicates that this system is working in real-world settings with these children. The artificial pancreas is also referred to as the closed-loop control, which is an all-in-one management system that tracks levels using a continuous glucose monitor and automatically delivers insulin when needed by using a pump.

(Source: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/artificial-pancreas-effectively-controls-type-1-diabetes-children-age-6)





If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Dr. Fumihiko Urano, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Lipid Research

Read the entire Q&A