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CHOC RESEARCHERS TEST DHA TO PREVENT TYPE 1 DIABETES IN NEWBORNS
November 15, 2007

Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) is one of nine medical centers in the United States recruiting participants for a pilot study to see if the dietary substance Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, can prevent type 1 diabetes in babies at risk. The Nutritional Intervention to Prevent Type 1 Diabetes Pilot Trial, or NIP for short, is attempting to combat diabetes as early as possible—in high risk infants still in utero and during the first months of life.

“The NIP study is extremely timely because the number of people being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is increasing every year,” says Dr. Mark Daniels pediatric endocrinologist and Principal Investigator for Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet. “The greatest increase is in children under the age of five,” he adds.

CHOC is participating in this and other groundbreaking collaborative studies through its participation in Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, a global network of researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health and dedicated to the prevention, early detection and treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet researchers want to find a way to intervene in the development of type 1 diabetes—a disease that is highly burdensome, especially for the young. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system wages an attack on the body’s insulin producing beta cells. Once the destruction begins, it continues until the body cannot produce enough insulin on its own, and daily insulin injections are required to survive. Type 1 diabetes can also cause long term health-related complications. Currently, there is no way to prevent or delay the disease.

The NIP Study will help researchers learn more about DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid naturally found in mothers’ breast milk and in some foods, such as pumpkin seeds, coldwater fish (primarily salmon and tuna), soybeans, walnuts and eggs. This research is being done as a pilot study, or “test run.” If the pilot study is successful, it may be possible to do a larger, definitive study to find out if DHA can prevent type 1 diabetes.

Babies, in utero and up to five months old, with a mother, father, brother, sister, or half-sister/brother who has type 1 diabetes are currently being sought for the study. Participation is free and includes testing and medical monitoring from leading diabetes researchers.

To schedule a free screening or to learn more about this or other Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet studies, call study coordinators Heather Speer MPH, CDE at 714-532-8613 or Joane Less RN, MBA 2 714-532-8642.

Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet is also supported by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International and the American Diabetes Association.

About CHOC Children's: Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2013-2014) and a 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital, CHOC Children's is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional healthcare network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, several primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four centers of excellence - The CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes.

CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence.  Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Pediatric Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.

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Media Contact:
Monica Garcia, Sr. Public Relations Specialist
phone: (714) 289-4183
email: pr@chocchildrens.org

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