Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pa.

I am Dr. Dorothy Becker, and I am Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. I treat patients with all types of hormone disorders and particularly those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. There has been a lot of publicity about the escalation of type 2 diabetes in children around the country, and it is true for our area as well. But in addition, we have an increase in type 1 diabetes, and type 1 diabetes still comprises 90% of children and adolescents that we treat in this area.

Children's Hospital is a leader of diabetes clinical care as well as research. And our care over the years has borne fruit in that we are seeing far fewer diabetes complications than we did in the past. And research by my colleagues has demonstrated a major decrease in mortality in our region. Our research is focused on prediction and prevention of type 1 diabetes as well as type 2 diabetes. We have large type 1 diabetes studies in which we're trying to work out what in the environment precipitates the damage to the beta cells that make insulin. Our research over 30 years has allowed us to develop assays that tell us who might or might not develop diabetes so that antibodies can help us predict who is at risk. We have now started intervention trials, together with colleagues around the country and actually around the world, using both immunosuppressive and vaccination strategies to prevent further damage to the islet cells as well as preserve the residual, or remaining, insulin that is still present in new onset children and adults. So any first degree relative under the age of 45, or somebody who has a newborn baby who is interested in screening and prevention studies should contact us either by the internet or directly by telephone.

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