Groundbreaking: Diabetes can be diagnosed in fetus in 1st trimester, Israeli study finds

Research from Bar-Ilan University finds that gestational diabetes can be diagnosed as early as the first trimester through the gut microbiome, a development which could prevent adverse outcomes for both mother and child.

By World Israel News Staff

A new Bar-Ilan University study has found that the kind of diabetes that develops during pregnancy can be diagnosed as early as the first trimester – months earlier than conventional methods are able to detect it.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition in which women without diabetes develop glucose intolerance during pregnancy. GDM, which plagues approximately 10% of pregnant women worldwide, is currently diagnosed in the second trimester of pregnancy.

The new study, led by Prof. Omry Koren of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University and a team of Israeli and international researchers, is one of the first to show reliable prediction of GDM months before it is typically diagnosed. There are marked differences in the first trimester gut microbiota (the bacterial population found in the guts of humans and animals) of women who develop gestational diabetes.

These differences are associated with inflammatory markers, with women who develop gestational diabetes exhibiting higher inflammation and lower levels of beneficial metabolites.

In the study, fecal and serum samples were collected from pregnant women during their first trimester.

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Diet, smokin, and other lifestyle habits were recorded, and clinical/medical data was compiled from digital health records.

Using the results of these characterizations, combined with other collected data, Prof. Yoram Louzoun of the Department of Mathematics and Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center built a
machine learning model that can accurately predict which women would go on to develop gestational diabetes.

“Recognition of women at risk of gestational diabetes at an early stage of pregnancy may allow specific recommendations for prevention of the disease — currently by lifestyle modification and in the future perhaps by specific pre, pro, and postbiotic supplementation,” says Prof. Koren.

If gestational diabetes can be prevented, there would be a major reduction in adverse outcomes of gestational diabetes, for the mother and offspring, in both the short and long term, benefiting families worldwide.