In this medical video learn about how your environment can effect type 1 diabetes.
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Jennifer Mathews: It's just another part of life for 7-year-old Espen Yeckel. Espen Yeckel: I'm ok with it. Jennifer Mathews: But his parents wonder why he has Type 1 diabetes and his sister Amanda does not. No one else in the family has it either. Ellen Yeckel: We would really like to know. We haven't spent that much time thinking about it because we -- I think we assume that we're not going to ever really know what triggered it for him. Jennifer Mathews: The Yeckels wonder if it was something in the environment. Researchers wonder too. Now, they want to prove it. Dr. William Hagopian: We're hoping that we can identify two or three or four, clear risk factors for Type 1 diabetes that we can then develop preventions for. Jennifer Mathews: Several studies show possible triggers include early exposure to cow's milk, an intestinal virus, or wheat products in the first few months of life. All the research has been too small to prove an absolute link. Now, scientists are about to embark upon the largest study ever to look at the environmental causes of Type 1 diabetes. 8,000 high-risk newborns will be followed for 15 years. Dr. William Hagopian: Just by avoiding a certain food or avoiding it in the first year of life or getting a vaccination for a viral infection -- a common viral infection, it may be possible to decrease the risk of future diabetes substantially. Espen Yeckel: I usually take my sugar about seven times a day. Jennifer Mathews: Well this is now routine for Espen. His parents hope this new study will keep other kids from ever having to take their first shot. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.