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Friday, April 10th, 2015
Every year, more than 15,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but health professionals and scientists don’t have many answers about the causes and prevention methods for this autoimmune disease. Experts do believe that genetics and environmental triggers are factors in the development of type 1 diabetes, and that diet and exercise are not.
A recent study suggests that experiencing traumatic life events during childhood can increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes later in life.
Researchers in Sweden examined more than 10,000 children between the ages of 2 and 14 who had not been diagnosed with T1D. Parents filled out questionnaires that measured their assessment of serious life events (death or illness in the family, conflicts, and divorce), parenting stress, parental worries, and parental social support.
Results indicated that kids who had experienced a serious life event during their first 14 years of life were nearly three times more likely to develop T1D than those who had not.
The authors of the study concluded that a possible link between stress and diabetes is an imbalance in the immune system. This imbalance could cause an autoimmune reaction against beta cells that produce the insulin necessary to regulate blood sugar. Other possible links between serious life experiences and the development of T1D do exist, and more research is needed to pinpoint when this type of psychological stress alters the autoimmune system.
“As experience of stressful life events cannot be avoided, children and their parents should get adequate support to cope with these events to avoid their consequences, which could include medical issues,” recommended the study’s authors.
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Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Child learning about diabetes via Shutterstock
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Child Health, childhood trauma, children's health, diabetes, family stresss, new research, new study, stress, stress management, trauma, traumatic events, type 1 diabetes | Categories:
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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
American mothers are more likely to die during childbirth than they were twenty years ago, data released by the World Health Organization shows–but globally, maternal death rates have fallen by almost half in the same period of time. Reuters has more:
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The WHO tracks maternal mortality as one of the “Millennium Development Goals” that the United Nations set for 2015. Death rates have fallen by 45 percent globally since 1990, to an estimated 289,000 women in 2013.
Giving birth in the United States remains far safer than in most countries, with only 28 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013. But that is 136 percent higher than the 1990 mortality rate, when only 12 mothers died for every 100,000 births, the data showed.
No other country recorded such a large percentage increase, although a few other rich countries also failed to keep maternal mortality in check. In Canada, deaths rose from 6 to 11 per 100,000 births between 1990 and 2013. Many European countries and Japan have mortality rates in single figures.
China has cut its rate by two-thirds since 1990, with 32 women dying for every 100,000 live births in 2013.
WHO experts said the increase in the U.S. mortality rate may be a statistical blip. Or it might be due to increased risks from obesity, diabetes and older women giving birth.
Marleen Temmerman, the director of reproductive health and research at WHO, said more analysis was needed.
Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes may be on the rise among young people, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests. Reuters has more:
Though researchers can’t say why exactly these rates continue to go up, it is important to monitor them, Dr. Dana Dabelea told Reuters Health.
Dabelea worked on the study at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora.
“This should draw attention to the seriousness of pediatric diabetes especially for the clinical and public health community,” she said. “At the individual level, every new case of diabetes at a young age means a lifelong burden of difficult, expensive treatment and a high risk of complications.”
Dabelea and her team analyzed data from health plans in California, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington state, as well as from American Indian reservations in the Southwest, including more than 3 million patients under age 19.
In 2001, about 14.8 kids in every 10,000 were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, formerly known as “juvenile diabetes,” in which the body’s own immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is needed to remove sugar from the bloodstream so it can be used for energy.
By 2009, that rate had risen to 19.3 kids in every 10,000, a 21 percent increase, the authors found. Type 1 diabetes was most common among white children.
In type 2 diabetes, which is much more common but not usually diagnosed until adulthood, the body still makes insulin but can’t use it effectively. For the current study, the authors looked at type 2 diabetes among kids ages 10 and up.
Among that group in 2001, 3.4 kids in every 10,000 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which increased to 4.6 per 10,000 in 2009, a 31 percent increase. This type of diabetes was most common among American Indian and black youth.
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Image: Child with insulin shot, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Pregnant women should all be screened for gestational diabetes, a government task force advised this week, lending support to a practice that many obstetricians already follow. More from NBC News:
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found an overall benefit to screening and treatment, including a reduced risk of preeclampsia in pregnant patients and of having an overly large baby and birth-related injuries to the newborn.
The task force’s recommendation, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, noted that 96 percent of obstetricians screen for the condition, and that other medical groups also recommend screening. The group said women with no history of diabetes should be screened after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
This was the panel’s first statement on gestational diabetes since 2008, when it found insufficient evidence to make a recommendation on screening. Since then, further studies have showed that the benefits outweigh the harms, said Dr. Wanda Nicholson, a past task force member who was instrumental in the recommendation.
“Now we have well-conducted clinical trials that clearly show a benefit for screening, where the results show a benefit for mom and baby,” she said. “The additional studies that have been done now clearly show a benefit and minimal harm.”
About 240,000 of the 4 million women who give birth each year develop gestational diabetes, a condition on the rise as obesity and other risk factors increase among pregnant women, the task force said. The condition occurs during pregnancy when the body does not produce enough insulin or use it correctly, leaving the body unable to convert starches and sugars from food into energy.
What you NEED to know about Gestational Diabetes.
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock
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Monday, September 9th, 2013
Children who have diagnosed behavioral problems or who experience “adverse events” in their lives before age 8 may be more likely to develop physical inflammation later in adolescence and adulthood, putting them at greater risk for inflammation-related disorders including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. More from ScienceDaily.com on the findings of a new study, which was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology:
[Children with behavioral problems or who had suffered "adversities" by age 8] had higher levels of two proteins (C-reactive protein — CRP; and Interleukin 6 — IL-6) in their blood when tested at the age of 10. This was the case even after a large number of other factors, including sex, race, background, and medication use, were taken into account.
Having raised levels of CRP and IL-6 can be an early warning sign that a person may be at risk of chronic or inflammatory conditions later in life.
Previous research has shown that children with behavioral problems can go on to develop health problems during adulthood, but this is the first time that a link has been found between mental health and inflammation in childhood.
The researchers believe the link may be due to the fact that many behavioral problems are associated with how the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis works. The HPA axis plays a major role in controlling reactions to stress and the immune system and, if it malfunctions, it can stimulate the release of the two proteins that cause chronically elevated levels of inflammation, which is tissue’s response to injury.
Speaking about the findings, Karestan Koenen, PhD, the report’s senior author and associate professor of Epidemiology, said: “This new research shows for the first time that having behavioral problems in childhood can put children on the path to ill health much earlier than we previously realized. The important message for healthcare professionals is that they need to monitor the physical health as well as the mental health of children with behavioral problems in order to identify those at risk as early as possible.”
Image: Sad child, via Shutterstock
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