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NOW FOR SOME good news about children born to mothers with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). They may be relatively protected from that disorder themselves, says a recent study. If its results are confirmed, it might someday be possible to immunize children against this form of diabetes mellitus, says principal investigator James Warram, PhD, of Boston.
An expert on the effects of diabetic pregnancies says the study is further affirmation that the uterine environment can modify one's genetic heritage. "The uterus is an incubator with a variable metabolism," says Norbert Freinkel, MD, Kettering Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago. "Permanent effects can result from modification of phenotypic gene expression by [the] uterine metabolism."
A few years ago, Warram and colleagues at Boston's Joslin Diabetes Center uncovered some interesting statistics. Using patient records to follow up children born to parents with juvenile-onset IDDM, they found that 6% of the
Raymond CA. If Mother Has Insulin-Dependent Diabetes, Is Child Protected?. JAMA. 1988;260(22):3245. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410220015002