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Diabetes Roundup

May 23, 2008

Diabetes during pregnancy puts babies at risk for birth defects, and teenage mothers-to-be are especially vulnerable.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Dangerous diabetes. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Between 1999 and 2005, the incidence of diabetes doubled among women giving birth, according to researchers at Kaiser-Permanente. The incidence for moms in their teens went up five-fold. Diabetes not only puts the women at risk for a host of health problems, but also increases their child’s risk of birth defects. The researchers say the culprit is the rise in obesity, and women at risk should make sure any existing diabetes is under control before becoming pregnant.

In other news, scientists at the Salk Institute say they’ve discovered why diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. They found that higher levels of sugar in the blood combine with a protein called beta amyloid to damage blood vessels in the brain. Understanding the process could lead to new treatments. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.