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Former Miss America Nicole Johnson Takes Action for Type 1 Diabetes Research

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promotes advance screening and clinical research available nationwide

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19, Nicole Johnson has waged a personal and public campaign against the disease ever since her days as Miss America 1999. She now has a daughter, Ava, who has renewed Nicole’s sense of urgency to join researchers in the first against type 1 diabetes.

Due to the increasing incidence in type 1 diabetes, especially in children under the age of five, Nicole has every reason to be concerned and, more importantly, act. Each year, in the U.S. alone, approximately 15,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and Ava’s chances of inheriting her mother’s type 1 diabetes are about 1 in 25.

Earlier this year, Nicole had Ava screened through Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, an international research effort led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that is exploring ways to prevent and delay type 1 diabetes. This screening, which consists of a simple blood test, could reveal an increased risk for type 1 diabetes up to 10 years before symptoms occur. Through TrialNet, diabetes researchers at more than 150 locations are offering this screening to eligible family members of people with type 1 diabetes.

“The information you get from this blood test is vital,” says Johnson, “because if my daughter is destined to get type 1 diabetes, we want to know at the earliest stages.”

“Early screening is important,“ explains Desmond Schatz, M.D., Principal Investigator for Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet at University of Florida College of Medicine and one of the world's leading experts on type 1 diabetes.  “People who are identified through screening as being at increased risk—those who have the autoantibodies for type 1 diabetes—can consider joining research studies that are testing ways to prevent or delay the disease.”

If diabetes can be delayed, even for a few years, those at risk may be able to postpone the difficult challenges of trying to control their glucose levels and the potential development of complications. Potential complications of type 1 diabetes include heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney damage and lower-limb amputations.

Johnson says, “Right now, I don’t know what the future holds. I do know my daughter has at least some of my genes that could predispose her to this condition. If her future test results come back positive, we will do everything we can to try to prevent or delay this disease. As a family, we are committed to being a part of the discovery process for type 1diabetes. We want to be part of the diabetes solution.”

Funded by NIH, TrialNet is also supported by the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International and the American Diabetes Association.

To learn more about type 1 diabetes screenings and research studies, call 1-800-HALT-DM1 (1-800-425-8361), or visit www.DiabetesTrialNet.org.