New test could identify infants with rare insulin disease A rare form of a devastating disease that causes low blood sugar levels in babies and infants may now be recognized earlier thanks to a new test. Congenital hyperinsulinism starves a baby's brain of blood sugar and can lead to lifelong brain damage or permanent disability. The condition occurs when specialised cells in the pancreas release too much insulin which causes frequent low sugar episodes -- the clinical opposite of diabetes. Treatment includes drugs to reduce insulin release but in the most serious cases the pancreas is removed.
Protecting us from our cells: Research could speed trials to treat auto-immune diseases Our immune system defends us from harmful bacteria and viruses, but, if left unchecked, the cells that destroy those invaders can turn on the body itself, causing auto-immune diseases like type-1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis. A molecule called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) boosts the body’s natural defense against this ‘friendly fire’, scientists have found. The findings are especially exciting because IGF-1 is already approved for use in patients, which could speed up the move to clinical trials for treating auto-immune diseases.