Meet Winter and Fox. The siblings are the first two participants in Australia to become involved in a new study using continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for measuring blood glucose levels in children at high risk of developing type 1 diabetes but who are not yet showing clinical signs of the condition.
Study lead Dr Aveni Haynes, who heads up epidemiology research at the Children’s Diabetes Centre, located at the Telethon Kids Institute and Perth Children’s Hospital, said the project involved children enrolled in the ENDIA study who had either a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes and who had developed type 1 diabetes-specific autoantibodies.
Winter and Fox’s mum Nicquelle has type 1 diabetes and enrolled her children in ENDIA - Australia’s biggest study into the causes of type 1 diabetes – when she was pregnant with them.
“There’s evidence that blood glucose levels in these high-risk children could be abnormal some months to years before they develop type 1 diabetes symptoms,” Dr Haynes said.
“Previously these children have been monitored using blood tests which only reflect a snapshot in time.
“Our work is looking to find early changes in the pattern of blood glucose levels in very young children in more detail and the CGM will show us what’s happening to those levels 24 hours a day.
“The findings will contribute the world’s first data on what happens in children of this age before they develop the clinical symptoms and signs of diabetes.”
Dr Haynes and the research are supported by Diabetes Research WA, the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, JDRF, and the Raine Medical Research Foundation.
Photo caption: Research nurse Alex Tully with participants Winter and Fox, mum Nicquelle and study lead, Dr Aveni Haynes.