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February 7, 2007

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Question from Ames, Iowa, USA:

Recently, my two-year-old and I took a part of TrialNet study (The Natural History Study of the Development of Type 1 Diabetes). Both results were negative. I have asked them to provide more accurate data about the antibodies to know the real value. If the antibody test was negative, what does it mean? Does it mean that type 1 will never happen or does it mean it can happen at any time, even with a very negative test? What are the limits for negative and negative tests?

Answer:

They should answer such questions more specifically for you. In fact, you probably already have such information in what you originally received from them. In general, the antibody tests sometimes convert from negative to positive. The more positive, the higher the titers, the more likely that these are “real” abnormalities and will persists. But, sometimes, even high values are transient. More than one antibody positive and higher titers for several mean more likely ongoing inflammatory changes are real, will persist, and therefore more risk for developing frank diabetes. Also, there are many people who are antibody negative since the tests are not 100% and stay negative.

SB