For the first time in the world, the employees of Semmelweis University and the University of Debrecen have succeeded in identifying parameters that can be used to determine with almost 100 percent accuracy who will develop gestational diabetes during the first trimester, the communication directorate of the Budapest institution told MTI.
They added: the researchers recently reported their results in a scientific publication in a prestigious journal.
Although it is one of the most common diseases during pregnancy, until now there has been no sufficiently effective method for the early prediction of gestational diabetes – says the announcement, which also explains that gestational diabetes affects more than 10 percent of pregnant women in Hungary (globally, this rate is about 17 percent ).
The researchers performed measurements on samples from the biobank of the University of Debrecen, which contains the data, blood and urine samples of 2,500 pregnant women. The biobank was built between 2010 and 2012, so the outcome of pregnancies, the subsequent health status and illnesses of the child and the mother were known.
In the end, five of the examined markers proved to be suitable for reliably indicating barely perceptible differences at the beginning of pregnancy. The five laboratory parameters are fructosamine, which shows the average blood sugar level of the previous 2-3 weeks, a protein involved in inflammatory processes, suPAR, the level of which is high in type 1 and type 2 diabetics, and three steroid hormones, cortisol, cortisone and 11 -deoxycorticosterone.
By supplementing traditional laboratory tests/risk factors (age, body weight) with the above special parameters, they were also able to track minor deviations compared to the industry standard. By evaluating the two, they were able to give the most precise prediction so far – similar to the currently available method for estimating the risk of high blood pressure in pregnancy. “At the same time, the method does not require an instrument that a laboratory with average equipment does not have,” quotes Dóra Gerszi, an employee of Semmelweis University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the first author of the publication.
The study indicated that early detection is particularly important because gestational diabetes affects the lives of two people. In utero, the fetal environment can result in life-long changes, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
As it was written, early treatment in the mother, such as diet, can prevent large weight gain and delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. 60 percent of gestational diabetes patients will develop the disease within ten years, since the tendency is already present.
But if the blood sugar values are in the normal range during pregnancy and the mother’s weight is lower at the end of the pregnancy, the risk of the disease and later complications is lower, the researchers emphasized.
As written, the next step is to make filtering more widely available; the doctors are also planning to introduce the screening in an upward system for expectant mothers cared for at Semmelweis University. The patenting of the method has also started.