Newly developed, simple test for gestational diabetes

Newly developed, simple test for gestational diabetes

The increasingly common condition of gestational diabetes can have serious consequences for both the mother and child if left untreated. Prompt diagnosis and therapy can protect against these consequences. A new testing method developed at the MedUni Vienna now makes diagnosis easier and also cheaper.

The new for is based on a mathematical and has been developed by scientists at the University Departments of Gynaecology and Internal Medicine III (Gender Medicine Unit) under the scientific leadership of Alexandra Kautzky-Willer. The new alternative to general screening with a glucose tolerance test is set to significantly reduce the number of tests that women often find quite unpleasant.

In the first stage of the new method, the pregnant woman's fasting is checked to exclude any manifest disease. Known risk factors from the patient's past medical history are also documented and investigated. "This data allows us to calculate the risk of gestational diabetes very accurately," says Kautzky-Willer. Only if the risk is elevated will the patient possibly need a glucose tolerance test.

Improving existing screening practices

Since 2011, the glucose tolerance test has been a mandatory examination in Austrian maternity clinics (as part of the "mother-and-child-pass" examination). Women often find this test somewhat unpleasant, however. General screening is also not possible in all countries. Gestational diabetes is regarded as a growing health problem, since it is now one of the most common conditions that develop during pregnancy. According to current international figures, around 15 to 20 per cent of all expectant mothers develop gestational diabetes.

Untreated, this metabolic condition can lead to increased insulin excretion in the unborn baby, leading to , increased fat accumulation, and a range of birth complications. The risk of both the mother and child developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension and vascular problems later in life is also raised. Early diagnosis and treatment of gestational diabetes can significantly reduce these complications. Mothers and their children can be monitored and supported in an aftercare programme.

A total of five medical centres across Austria took part in the development of the new testing method. The scientific work behind it has just been published in the top international journal Diabetologia. The Austrian Diabetes Society has awarded a project prize to the study and for the development of new testing methods.

More information: A scoring algorithm including fasting plasma glucose measurement and a risk estimation model is an accurate strategy for detecting GDM. Göbl CS, et al. Diabetologia 2012.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Women are more prone to hypoglycaemia than men

Jun 27, 2012

Just how important a gender-specific perspective and the personalised treatment of illnesses are between men and women is being demonstrated by two current studies at the MedUni Vienna, which are being led ...

Recommended for you

Low-carb diet recommended for diabetics

1 hour ago

A new study involving researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and other institutions says patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes should eat a diet low in carbohydrates.

Shift work linked to heightened risk of type 2 diabetes

Jul 24, 2014

Shift work is linked to a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with the risk seemingly greatest among men and those working rotating shift patterns, indicates an analysis of the available evidence published online ...

Rosemary and oregano contain diabetes-fighting compounds

Jul 23, 2014

The popular culinary herbs oregano and rosemary are packed with healthful compounds, and now lab tests show they could work in much the same way as prescription anti-diabetic medication, scientists report. In their new study ...

User comments