Updated: Saturday, 25th January 2020 @ 8:25am

Brain damage in babies could be prevented through Manchester uni blood sugar disease discovery

Brain damage in babies could be prevented through Manchester uni blood sugar disease discovery

By Danielle Wainwright

Babies battling a rare and deadly blood sugar disease may be prevented from suffering brain damage, due to an important University of Manchester discovery.

The clinical opposite of diabetes, Congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI), is a potentially fatal disease caused when newborn babies develop too much insulin.

It has now been realised that any form can lead to long-term disability or brain damage due to low blood sugars.

Previously, it was thought only babies with the most severe form were at risk.

With the recent discovery paediatrics will now ensure that all sufferers receive the same treatment.

Professor Peter Clayton, Professor of Child Health and Paediatric Endocrinology, said: “Based on these findings, the team recommends that any baby with CHI, whether they turn out to have transient or persistent CHI, should have immediate and sustained treatment of low blood sugar to prevent long-term disability.”

The study also found that found that a third of children have evidence of brain damage from low blood sugars occurring at an early age.

This research was conducted by the university’s Faculty of Life Sciences and Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences along with consultants from the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital teamed up for the research.

The ground-breaking discovery is published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology and has been welcomed as a significant step forward in paediatrics.

Doctor Indi Banerjee, Consultant in Paediatric Endocrinology at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, said: “It has long been recognised that low blood sugars in these babies can cause brain damage.

“This research shows the damage happens even in children with the milder version of the disease, where low sugars improve after a few days. The damage to the developing brain in these children can be prevented by promptly recognising and correcting the low blood sugars.”

Picture courtesy of David Thomas, with thanks.

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