Puberty timing in boys not affected by type 1 diabetes, study shows

Jack Woodfield
Wed, 09 Jan 2019
Puberty timing in boys not affected by type 1 diabetes, study shows
Puberty is not delayed in boys with type 1 diabetes when compared to those without the condition, researchers have found.

Previous research had linked type 1 diabetes to later puberty, but the study indicates that modern insulin therapy is not associated with a delay in puberty for boys.

A team from Chile has carried out a study involving more than 500 boys, of which 148 had type 1 diabetes. The trial involved monitoring puberty development for four years in the male participants who were aged between 7-19 years.

The researchers analysed the age at which boys reached different stages of puberty and compared the data with the boys who did not have condition.

Additional data was also collected, including body mass index (BMI), how long the child had been living with diabetes, average HbA1c levels and daily insulin doses. The additional measures were taken to assess whether these factors had any significant bearing on the timing of puberty.

They recorded whether the process of puberty had started using the Tanner scale, which defines the physical changes a body undertakes during the development. There are five stages on the Tanner scale with stage one representing pre-puberty and stage five representing fully developed puberty. Stage two marks the first apparent signs of the start of puberty.

The study showed those with type 1 diabetes reached Tanner stage two at a younger age than those without the condition. The trend continued with the group of boys with diabetes reaching stage three of puberty six months earlier than the males without diabetes. However, the difference in timing between the groups was not enough to be deemed statistically significant.

"These findings suggest pubertal delay and hypogonadism are not a problem in adolescent boys with [type 1 diabetes] treated with multiple insulin doses or having the proper degree of metabolic control present in many places worldwide," said Ethel Codner, professor of pediatric endocrinology and diabetology at the Institute of Maternal and Child Research at the University of Chile School of Medicine.

"Our data showing a normal age of pubertal development in [type 1 diabetes] differ from previous reports that showed a mild delay of puberty initiation in boys with [type 1 diabetes]."

The findings have been published in the Pediatric Diabetesjournal.
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