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HbA1c test criticised for missing childhood diabetes diagnoses

A new study from the United States has revealed that the HbA1c test, an easy and non-fasting blood test for screening children for diabetes, is actually missing numerous cases of paediatric diabetes. The research, which was published in the journal Diabetes Care, showed that haemoglobin A1c has not proved as effective as thought as a means of diagnosing diabetes in children.
The research involved a review of over 250 overweight children and adolescents that were aged between 10 and 17, evenly divided by gender, with under having either diabetes or prediabetes.
Participants had to visit a clinical research unit twice, once for a glucose tolerance test, with HbA1c and fructosamine also being measured, and the second time to receive a random plasma glucose and a non-fasting glucose challenge test. The scientists showed that traditional testing methods, such as random glucose or the non-fasting, 1-hour glucose challenge test, offered better results than the HbA1c test.
Joyce M. Lee, who led the research, pointed out “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.”
She added “In fact, it failed to diagnose 2 out of 3 children participating in the study who truly did have diabetes.”

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