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Type 2 diabetes more aggressive in children

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Twenty-thousand children in the United States are living with Type 2 diabetes, a diagnosis that just 20-some years ago was rarely made by doctors.

"In the 90s more and more children being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as the incidents of obesity started going up in the United States and worldwide, and all of a sudden we were faced with this new disease that we didn't know a whole lot about," said Dr. Sumana Narasimhan, University Hospitals, Cleveland.

However, over the years experts have been able to study the condition in children.

Dr. Narasimhan, who recently co-authored a paper on treatment options for Type 2 diabetes, says the disease is completely different in children than it is in adults.

"But there was no real good scientific trial trying to say this works, this doesn't work in children and so that is how the today study was created and funded by the NIH (National Institutes of Health)," Dr. Narasimhan said.

The nearly 700 patients who participated in the study were treated with a drug known as metformin as well as with other treatment methods including changes to diet and exercise. However, only half of the patients reported some improvement. Because the disease can cause more severe complications in kids, Dr. Narasimhan believes more research is needed to look at combination therapies would work. In the meantime, she says prevention is the best medicine.

Narasimhan added, "As clinicians, we can prevent Type 2, which is the best thing to do by teaching them about healthy lifestyle and exercise and controlling weight."

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