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[IP] New Tool Diagnoses LADA

New Tool Diagnoses Rare Diabetes in Adults

Researchers have devised a way of detecting a hard-to-diagnose form of
diabetes called latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood (LADA).

The American Diabetes Association describes LADA as a variation of type 1
diabetes that occurs in adults. Like standard type 1, LADA is an autoimmune
disorder in which the immune system mistakenly destroys the
insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. One difference in adults, however,
is that the need for insulin therapy develops more slowly in patients with
LADA. Because it tends to develop after age 30 and does not initially
require insulin administration, LADA is often misdiagnosed as type 2
diabetes, a disorder of metabolism that often involves obesity and usually
develops in middle age.

Australian researchers sought to establish a screening tool to identify
patients who may have LADA and would benefit from autoantibody testing.
These blood tests reveal autoantibodies, the misguided proteins that damage
the pancreas in people with autoimmune forms of diabetes.

To confirm what signs and symptoms could distinguish LADA from type 2
diabetes, the researchers interviewed 102 adults diagnosed with LADA and 111
adults with type 2. Five characteristics set LADA apart: onset before age
50, acute symptoms, normal weight and a personal or family history of
autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

The researchers then tried this "LADA clinical risk score" on 130 adults
newly diagnosed with diabetes. They found that patients with least two of
the five traits had a 90 percent probability of having LADA. They concluded
that their clinical tool could help identify LADA in diabetic adults.

Copyright 2000-2006 HealthCentersOnline Inc.

John S Wilkinson,
Rome, New York
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