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Nord Med. 1992;107(8-9):207-10.

[Can type-1 diabetes in children be prevented?].

[Article in Swedish]

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Pediatriska kliniken, Uleåborgs universitet.


Increased knowledge of the etiopathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes has focused great interest on the possibilities of preventing the disease. Type 1 diabetes is considered to be a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by gradual beta-cell destruction mediated by autoreactive T-lymphocytes during an asymptomatic prediabetic phase of varying duration. Both experimental and epidemiologic data indicate that nutritional cow milk exposure early in life may play a critical role in the initiation of beta-cell destruction. Accordingly a primary prevention study has been planned to test the hypothesis that dietary elimination of cow milk proteins over the first 9 months of life will decrease the subsequent risk of childhood type 1 diabetes in high risk infants. The possibility of identifying prediabetic individuals before decisive loss of beta-cell function by various islet cell-specific autoantibodies enables measures of secondary prevention in the prediabetic phase. There are indications from experimental and human studies that nicotinamide, a water-soluble group B vitamin, may be effective in preventing or delaying the presentation of diabetes. A European multicentre study will be initiated in the near future to explore whether oral nicotinamide can prevent or delay the clinical manifestation of Type 1 diabetes in high risk first degree relatives of diabetic children. We have to wait for the results of these intervention studies for years, and similarly other prevention strategies have to be tested in large-scale long-lasting clinical trials. Nevertheless, prevention of childhood diabetes may become a reality in the next century.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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