Olli Simell, Professor of Pediatrics at the Turku University Hospital, told the newspaper that evidence of damage to the pancreas has been found in blood samples from children tested before the appearance of type-1 diabetes. The findings may allow for the development of an inoculation to prevent the disease, which usually appears in childhood, in the near future.
"Abnormalities in fats affect the onset of diabetes. One can think that that these could be directly replaced by beneficial fats, or that harmful elements could be removed from children even less than one year of age," Simell told Turun Sanomat.
The findings are part of the work of the DIPP project (Diabetes Prediction and Prevention Project) that was launched in 1994 in Finland. In the study, 150,000 newborns have been screened for increased genetic risk for type-1 diabetes at the University Hospitals of Turku, Tampere and Oulu.
According to Turun Sanomat, the incidence of type-1 diabetes has shot up by 30% over the past decade, and the disorder is more common in Finland, relative to the size of the population, than anywhere else in the world.