Study: Can Supplement Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?
Researchers Give Compound To Babies
Last Updated: 1919 days ago
Johanna Phillips, 9, likes to lend a hand around the house. She especially likes to help out with her baby brother, Frank."I like to rock him to sleep and feed him bottles," Johanna said.Johanna also wants to protect the 10-month-old from Type 1 diabetes. She has lived with the disease since she was 3 years old."When you get site changes, it kind of hurts, and he might have to get shots and I don't want him to get shots," Johanna told 6New Staying Healthy reporter Stacia Matthews as she showed off her insulin pump.Johanna may get her wish.Frank is enrolled in the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet study because his sister has the disease. In this blind study, participants receive baby formula with three times the regular amount of a supplement called docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. It's an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, walnuts and soybean.Dr. Henry Rodriguez is leading the research at Indianapolis' Riley Hospital for Children."Several popular studies have shown those individuals that have a greater intake of these fatty acids may very well have a (decreased risk) of developing Type 1 diabetes," Rodriguez said.In those studies, the DHA appeared to prevent or delay the destruction of insulin-producing cells. Without intervention, Frank has a 78 percent chance of developing the disease before his 5th birthday."Boy, if we can keep him from getting that sick, she almost died," said Sara Phillips, the children's mother.Johanna's entire family is eating more foods with omega-3 fatty acid."What would you not do to try to help? If that means changing our diet completely, absolutely, we'd do that," Phillips said.Researchers believe the study is timely because of the growing number of people being diagnosed with the disease. Most of them are under the age of 5.The trial is attempting to combat diabetes as early as possible in high-risk newborns and babies still in the womb.To qualify, the baby must have a parent, brother, sister or half-sibling who has Type 1 diabetes. Screening consists of a simple blood test.This is a test-run trial with a small number of participants. If it proves successful, researchers hope to conduct a larger, more definitive study to find out if DHA can prevent Type 1 diabetes.For more information, contact the Riley and UI TrialNet Clinical Center at 866-230-8486.