Optimizing Screening and Diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes - Episode 4

Screening for Type 1 Diabetes

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Elaine M. Apperson, MD, reviews screening guidelines for the management of type 1 diabetes.

Elaine M. Apperson, MD: There are venues for families to pursue genetic screening or antibody screening within a research trial. Those can be found on the internet through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund [JDRF]. They support large research endeavors to screen patients with a family member with type 1 diabetes. But the thing with type 1 diabetes is that you’re not going to miss it. At the moment, we don’t have a silver bullet to prevent it. Without that silver bullet to prevent it, having an automatic screen in place isn’t necessarily going to be beneficial for all families who have a family member with type 1 diabetes. If it was found that that child was at risk and we didn’t have a preventive available to the public, it could place a large psychological burden on that patient and that family.

Screening for type 1 diabetes with a panel of eyelet cell antibodies is recommended only in the setting of a research trial. It could also be offered as an option for first-degree family members, which is what we do at our clinic. But as I said, it’s not routinely offered unless, for example, your sister has type 1 diabetes. We do it only under the banner of our JDRF association or our TrialNet association, which are clinical trials.

Transcript edited for clarity