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September 12, 2002

Genetics and Heredity

Question from Warwick, Rhode Island, USA:

My six year old son developed diabetes at age three, my mother has psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, my maternal grandfather had ALS, but I have been left out of this autoimmune chain. Is there a chance I can be 'skipped over'? Do you know of any related clinical trials in the Northeast?


Assuming that your son does in fact have type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes, this is a condition that is indeed linked to a number of other autoimmune conditions in what is called the Autoimmune Polyglandular Syndrome Type II. However. neither psoriatic arthritis nor Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a component of this group even though so far poorly defined derangements of the immune responses have been invoked in both their etiologies. There are in fact, no reports that link these conditions together so that I think it probable that you have indeed been spared. As to clinical trials, I am sorry to say I can’t help.