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Cardiff University research could lead to earlier diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in children

24 Apr 2022 2 minute read
Insulin. Photo by cogdogblog is marked with CC0 1.0.

Researchers from Cardiff University have developed a tool that uses AI technology to predict whether certain children may go on to develop Type 1 diabetes, leading to an earlier diagnosis.

Backed by funding from Diabetes UK, the research used AI technology and electronic health records to develop a predictive tool to to spot patterns that highlight potential case of Type 1 diabetes, a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.

Data from one million children was used to train the tool to spot patterns, incorporating factors marked in GP records including, urinary infections, bedwetting, family history and being prescribed antibiotics.

Dr Julia Townson, senior research fellow at Cardiff University’s centre for trials research, told Digital Health.Net: “We are now looking to see how this tool might work with primary care computer systems.

“If possible, this would enable us to carry out a feasibility study to assess the acceptability of the tool with GPs.

“Use of the tool may be some years away yet – but we are hopeful it will provide a vital new avenue for early diagnosis of diabetes which could save lives.”

According to Diabetes UK, there are about 35,000 children and young people under the age of 19 with diabetes in the UK and 96% of those have Type 1 Diabetes, a lifelong condition, which over time can damage the heart, kidneys, eyes and feet.

An earlier diagnosis of the condition would give youngsters faster access to life-saving insulin therapy.

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