Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes very early in life is linked with more changes to immune system genes than for people diagnosed with the condition later in life, according to new research.
The research team were keen to study gene changes in a bid to understand more as to why people diagnosed with type 1 earlier in life typically produce less insulin of their own and are more likely to develop complications of diabetes.
It is hoped that findings from the study, carried out by a team at the University of Oxford, could pave the way for a better understanding of how type 1 diabetes develops.
The researchers, led by Professor John Todd, saw 9,000 people with type 1 diabetes split into three groups depending at what age they had been diagnosed: under sevens, between seven and 13, and over 13. A control group featured people who did not have type 1 diabetes.
The genes of all those taking part were then studied to determine if genetic markers associated with type 1 were more common in those with an early-age diagnosis compared to people diagnosed after the age of 13 and those without type 1.
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