June 2013

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Health Capsule

Family Studies of Type 1 Diabetes

If someone in your family has type 1 diabetes, you and other family members may be at risk. Want to help scientists learn more? Complete a free screening to see if you can take part in an NIH-funded study that’s searching for ways to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes. You can get screened even if you live far from a study site.

The study, called Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, aims to screen more than 20,000 relatives of people with type 1 diabetes each year.

In the past, relatives who wanted to participate in the study had to visit a study site or attend a screening event. But now, potential volunteers can answer a few online questions at www.diabetestrialnet.org. If you’re eligible for the next step, you’ll receive a kit in the mail. The kit will direct you to a local lab for a free blood test to look for factors related to diabetes.

Out of every 100 people tested, about 3 or 4 will show an increased risk for type 1 diabetes. They’ll be invited to have further blood tests at a TrialNet center, and they might be invited to join a study of ways to prevent or delay the disease. Children under age 18 can be retested annually to see if their risk has changed.

“We hope to find more people who are at risk and want to help find ways to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes,” says NIH’s Dr. Ellen Leschek, who directs the TrialNet program.