Molecular genetics can facilitate a successful switch to oral diabetes therapy
The increase in type 1 and type 2 diabetes in childhood has been well documented worldwide and in Australia.1,2 In addition, the separate entity of monogenic diabetes is increasingly recognised in paediatric diabetes, and now encompasses neonatal diabetes mellitus and maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY)3 (Box 1). Monogenic diabetes is defined as diabetes caused by a single gene defect. A diagnosis of monogenic diabetes should be considered in a child who is diabetes-associated-autoantibody negative, is diagnosed with diabetes in the first 6 months of life, has a parent with diabetes, and/or is not markedly obese. Although uncommon — its frequency is estimated to be 1%–3% of all childhood diabetes3 — the clinical relevance of this condition is that at least some of those affected (in particular, those with MODY1 and MODY3) can achieve very good diabetes control with sulfonylurea rather than insulin therapy.
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