November 14, 2013

GATTICA Remix: Preventing T1D in Kids

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blood-levelsAccording to a study published in Nutrition & Diabetes, researchers have been able to identify specific markers in the blood of children who are newly diagnosed with T1D.

Researchers have discovered that newborn children have a greater chance of developing T1D if they have reduced levels of free carnitine and acyl-carnitines. This is also evident with lower levels of amino acids.

Many people without diabetes carry the HLA-DR3 and HLA-DR4 genes. But having the genes in combination with other factors proves to be highly indicative of developing T1D.

In the study, 50 children who developed T1D during the first 6 years of life were identified and 200 controls were recruited into the study. The participants were screened for 13 amino acids, free carnitine, 33 acyl-carnitines and 21 ratios.

Total and free carnitine were found to be significantly lower in newborns who later developed T1D compared with controls. Moreover, the concentrations of the acyl-carnitines and other carnations were also significantly lower in future T1D kids. The total amino acid concentrations  of all amino acids tested, showed a trend toward lower levels.

The findings of this study were that carnitine and amino-acid deficit children are evident before the clinical appearance of T1D, possibly from birth. The evaluation of these metabolites in the neonatal period of children human leukocyte antigen genetically at ‘risk’ to develop T1D, could represent an additional tool for the prediction of T1D and could also offer the possibility to design new strategies for the primary prevention of the disease from birth.

It’s not quite like GATTACA. Instead of precluding you from living life to the fullest, based on your genetic predisposition, the findings of this study will develop treatments to strengthen you from falling prey to your DNA.

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