Ashraf AmbikaDirector of the UAB Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and DiabetesAmbika Ashraf, M.D., recently published a study on hybrid diabetes (HD) in children and adolescents in the journal Endocrine Practice. Ashraf is also an associate director of the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center (UCDC).

The study, titled “Children and Adolescents With Hybrid Diabetes: A Management Conundrum” is a retrospective analysis from 2016 to 2020, examining 102 subjects with Type 1 diabetes (T1DM), Hybrid Diabetes (HD), and Type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

The research highlights the unique characteristics of HD or double diabetes, distinguishing it from both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Key findings indicate that children with HD show a blend of autoimmune diabetes autoantibody positivity (hall mark in T1DM) and insulin resistance (a hallmark of T2DM), creating a complex treatment and management scenario.

This study is pivotal in understanding the different trajectories of diabetes in children and may pave the way for more targeted treatment strategies. The authors note that the prevalence is increasing in children.

They found that patients with HD were still insulin dependent at a two-year follow-up, like patients with T1DM. Those HD patients also had a strong positive family history of T2DM and preserved endogenous c-peptide production, like patients with T2DM.

“Our study findings underscore the need for healthcare providers to be vigilant in diagnosing and managing this distinct form of diabetes, which poses unique challenges due to its hybrid nature,” said Ashraf. “The study calls for further research to develop precision treatment strategies for pediatric patients with Hybrid Diabetes. Our team of researchers wants to encourage more research specifically on using insulin sensitizers and incretin based therapies.”

Other study authors included first author Charles A. Gagnon BS, UAB Heersink School of Medicine medical student, and Jessica Schmitt M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes and member of the UCDC.