Stomach Bacteria Could be Early Type 1 Detector

Quick Hits – A study suggests that a severe lack of bacteria in stomachs of toddlers could signal a future Type 1 diagnosis.

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Quick Hit

suggests that alterations in normal stomach bacteria may be an early sign of Type 1 diabetes in young children.

According to a report in HealthDay, researchers observed stool samples from 33 Finnish and Estonian babies who showed indications of increased genetic risk of Type 1. The study chose the tiny candidates based on the presence of gene variants that signaled a potentially dysfunctional immune system. By age three, four of those children had developed Type 1.

The presence of trillions of bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms in the stool was recorded for all the toddlers. In the four children with T1, scientists found serious fluctuation of the stomach organisms about a year prior to a Type 1 diagnosis. The change in gut bacteria was quite pronounced, akin to a rain forest being clear-cut, according to one researcher.

However, researchers cautioned against extrapolating too much from the small study. For one thing, it’s not known if the change in stomach bacteria caused the onset of Type 1 diabetes, or was the result of it. Also, it’s unclear if Type 1 onset at such a young age would show the same changes in stomach microorganisms as Type 1 onset in older children and adults.

Scientists hope that understanding the connection between Type 1 and stomach bacteria can provide earlier diagnostic testing for Type 1.

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Travis served as a staff writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation in 2015. Previously, he was a staff writer for Insight, a high school newspaper, as well as a copywriter for The Emersonian, Emerson's yearbook.