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From Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador:

My son was diagnosed with neonatal diabetes when he has 2 months. Now, he has almost 2 years, he's receiving 5 units of Ultralente Insulin once a day. He's doing fine. I want to know everything you can tell me about this kind of diabetes. It's a very special type of diabetes.


Neonatal diabetes is a very rare condition; one survey in Britain put the incidence at around 1:400,000 births. It is defined as needing insulin within the first month of life. About 60% or more of cases get better and can come off insulin within 6 months; but there is an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in later life. Treatment is usually most successful when some form of long acting insulin is used.

Understandable because of its rarity, not a great deal is known in molecular terms about the underlying abnormality. But of special interest perhaps are those who have an abnormality of the long arm of chromosome 6 that is inherited down the male line. This is not a form of the much more common autoimmune Type 1A Diabetes and it is sometimes accompanied by insulin resistance rather than insulin and C peptide deficiency. In twin births both infants are usually affected; and a wide variety of other birth defects may be associated with the diabetes. At birth affected children are usually 'small for dates'.

Some of these cases are also associated with abnormalities of the pancreas that vary from aplasia of the whole gland to inadequate development of the insulin producing beta cells only. In the first of these groups there may be a need for supplementation of exocrine pancreatic enzymes.

If you can access PubMed on your computer you might search under 'neonatal diabetes' or 'pancreatic aplasia' or if you can get access to a medical library with journals in English you might especially enjoy reading Archives Disease in Childhood, vol76:39, 1997 (Fetal and Neonatal Division) or the European. J. Paediat., 154:944, 1995.


Original posting 2 May 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms


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