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New test makes early detection of insulin disease in infants possible

Written by Shraddha Rupavate |Published : October 24, 2014 4:43 PM IST

A study that appeared in the Journal of Pediatrics reveals a new clinical test developed by researchers from the University of Manchester in Britain for detection of a rare insulin disease in infants (congenital hyperinsulinism). 'We have discovered a new clinical test which can identify congenital hyperinsulinism in some patients with no known genetic cause of the disease,' said lead researcher Karen Cosgrove.

Congenital hyperinsulinism is a rare disorder that deprives a baby's brain of blood sugar. It may lead to brain damage and even death if it is not identified at an early stage. The condition occurs when pancreatic specialised cells secrete excess levels of insulin that causes frequent episodes of low sugar level. The new test measures a pair of hormones called incretins that are released by specialised cells in the gut when food is passing through. These hormones normally convey the cells in the pancreas to release more insulin to regulate sugar levels in our blood. If the child's body releases too much incretin hormones, the pancreas will release too much insulin causing low blood sugar levels.

For the study, genes and hormones were analysed in 13 children with congenital hyperinsulisnism at the Manchester Children's Hospital. 'Although we are the first researchers to report high incretin hormone levels in patients with congenital hyperinsulinism, further studies are needed to see if our test works on a larger group of patients,' Cosgrove noted. Current treatment of the disease includes drugs to reduce insulin release but in the most serious cases the pancreas is removed.

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'In future the test may influence how these children are treated medically, perhaps even avoiding the need to have their pancreas removed,' Cosgrove pointed out.

Source: IANS

Photo source: Getty images

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