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Catch It Before Being Hospitalized

Researchers at the University of Virginia are working on developing a genetic risk test for type 1 diabetes, NPR reports.

It notes that many children with type 1 diabetes and their parents often don't realize they have diabetes until they are hospitalized, and a genetic test could help uncover some kids who are at risk. However, NPR notes that there are a number of genes that contribute to type 1 diabetes risk and that while some of the disease risk is genetic, other factors also contribute to it.

Still, UVA's Stephen Rich tells NPR that he and his colleagues have developed a test that includes gene variants that account for about 90 percent of the genetic risk for type 1 diabetes. Then, he says, children found to be at high genetic risk could be monitored through antibody-based blood tests for signs they are developing the condition. They are now studying this approach in a cohort of about 2,000 children, it adds.

"Since 40 percent of kids who develop type 1 diabetes go into [a] coma, we can prevent that by monitoring them, carefully," Rich tells NPR.