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November 5, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Marshalltown, Iowa, USA:

When a blood test for diabetes was done on my son, the doctor said he had "no negative antibodies." Does this mean he is type 1 or type 1B or type 2?


I think that there must have been a misunderstanding. What the doctor probably said was either that “the test was negative for antibodies,” or that it showed “no antibodies.” If this is so, then your son probably has type 1B which is uncommon in Caucasian children, but comprises just over 50% of new onset cases in Hispanic or African American children. The important point here is that he has a good chance of controlling his diabetes without insulin.

Type 2 is still a possibility, although unlikely without a history of being overweight.


[Editor’s comment: Of course, there’s also the chance the negative results on the antibody test were what is called a false-negative: that is, the test that was run on that day was negative for whatever reason, but there really were antibodies present that the test did not measure. This is especially important as there are several antibodies that can be checked to look at type  1 diabetes, and perhaps only one was checked, and the others might have indeed been positive (if they had been checked). Check with the doctor, and find out if only one, or a whole battery, of diabetes antibody tests were done.