Researchers Discover Change in Gut Bacteria in Some Type 1 Diabetes Patients

A new study has indicated that in certain young children that develop Type 1 diabetes, there are changes to the stomach bacteria that can precede the disease by one year. The findings of the study were published to the Cell, Host & Microbe journal that looked at 33 children with a high genetic risk of developing diabetes.


The scope of the study was quite small leading researchers to believe that more testing needs to be done in order to determine if the findings are significant for developing a test for Type 1 diabetes based on gut bacteria composition.


The lead researcher on the study is Aleksandar Kostic of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. There is also the possibility of developing therapies for Type 1 diabetes that would be able to target gut bacteria imbalances in order to avoid or reverse Type 1 diabetes.


The study looked at babies from Finland and Estonia and the researchers analyzed the stool samples of these patients in order to determine when changes occurred in gut bacteria. The findings indicated that for the children that later went on to develop Type 1 diabetes by age four, there were distinct changes in the gut bacteria roughly one year before the disease onset began.


Type 1 diabetes primarily affects children and it is often linked to genetic factors. There are roughly three million Americans that are currently living with Type 1 diabetes according to the JDRF. Scientists do not yet know exactly what causes the disease.

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