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Hemoglobin A1c Test Ineffective at Identifying Children with Diabetes

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 06 Dec 2011
Hemoglobin A1c test is less effective than other tests at identifying children with diabetes.

The simple test measures long-term blood sugar levels– without requiring patients to fast overnight. An international expert committee convened by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) issued a report in 2009 suggesting issued a report suggesting that Hemoglobin A1c is the preferred method of diagnosing diabetes in children.

A new University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) study has shown that these tests are not very accurate in children tested (254 overweight children) using both fasting and nonfasting methods. Investigators found that the recommended test, Hemoglobin A1c, missed more cases of prediabetes or diabetes compared to other tests. The study was published online ahead of print on September 27, 2011 in the journal Diabetes Care.

Based on the results, researchers urge that a nonfasting one-hour glucose challenge test, or a random glucose, may be promising methods for identifying children with prediabetes or diabetes.

“We found that Hemoglobin A1c is not as reliable a test for identifying children with diabetes or children at high risk for diabetes compared with other tests in children,” says Joyce M. Lee, MD, MPH, lead author of the study and a pediatric endocrinologist at U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (Ann Arbor, MI, USA). “In fact, it failed to diagnose two out of three children participating in the study who truly did have diabetes."

Related Links:
University of Michigan
Mott Children’s Hospital



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