Australia's first pilot study to screen children from the
general population for early signs of type 1 diabetes will be led
by a leading diabetes academic and researcher.
Dr Kirstine Bell, a Credentialled Diabetes Educator and National
Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellow at the
University of Sydney, (pictured), will drive the pilot to screen
children from the general population, without a family history of
type 1 diabetes, in only the third study of this kind in the
While type 1 is traditionally diagnosed after physical symptoms
such as thirst, weight loss and frequent urination have begun, the
new study will look for islet autoantibodies.
These are chemical markers in the blood that indicate a person
is likely to develop type 1, even though they may not have any
Diagnosing diabetes at this stage can significantly reduce the
risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
A similar study in Germany showed a rate of DKA of less than 5%
of its participants, compared with the usual rate of 20%.
In Australia, DKA is experienced by almost one third of children
with newly diagnosed type 1.
In addition to preventing DKA, people with autoantibodies can
start monitoring early, and potentially enrol in clinical trials
for new therapies that can delay or prevent the onset of type 1