Gestational Diabetes and Childhood Obesity

Written by Bonnie Sanders Polin PhD

Insulin Therapy and Neuropathy in Type 1 Diabetes

We begin with an abstract from the May Diabetes Care journal titled “Effect of prior intensive insulin treatment during the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) on peripheral Neuropathy in type 1 diabetes during the epidemiology of diabetes interventions and complications (EDIC) study,” by James W. Albers, MD PhD et al.
The researchers compared former intensive treatment verses standard treatment protocols on neuropathy 13 to 14 years after the DCCT closed. They repeated clinical and nerve conduction studies that had been done during the DCCT trials for 603 intensive treatment patients and 583 standard treatment patients.
Although the incidence of neuropathy increased during the second testing from 9% to 25% in the former intensively treatment group and from 17% to 35% in the former standard treatment group, the difference remained statistically significant. There was no significant association between the intensively treated patients and odds of neuropathy later on; however, they noted a continued treatment group effect that became evident in glycemic control and measures of both incident and persistent neuropathy.
This long-standing effect of intensive treatment was shown to be beneficial to patients over the years. There have been conflicting research on the results of intensive diabetic treatment, but in this case, keeping glucose levels in tight control seemed to have a significant positive effect.
To learn more about this study, you may read the abstract here.
Gestational Diabetes’ Effect on Childhood Obesity
Obesity and gestational diabetes made the news thanks to the May 2010 issue of Diabetes Care with an article titled “Effect of treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus on obesity in the next generation,” by Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SM at al. This study examined the impact of treating mild gestational diabetes and then examining the children born of these women 4 to 5 years later.
Gestational diabetes occurs in about 8% of pregnant women. The children of these women tend to weigh more at birth.
The researchers divided the 199-person population into 2 groups in a randomized trial. Nurses measured the height and weight of the children born when they were preschool age. They noted age and sex, as well as BMI (body mass index).
At birth, more than 5% had a weight of over ≥4,000 g (large for a newborn) in the intervention group, and almost 22% fell into this overweight group in the control group.
However, at 4 to 5 years of age, both the intervention and control groups of children were found to have statistically similar scores on weight, even taking into consideration race, age, and socioeconomic status.
The researchers concluded that although treating women with mild gestational diabetes during pregnancy reduced the weight of their children at birth, it did not impact their weight 4 to 5 years later.

Learn more about this study by reading the abstract here.