PEOPLE in the Chard and Ilminster area with a relative who has type 1 diabetes are being asked to take part in a study that hopes to find ways of preventing it.

The diabetes and paediatric teams at Musgrove Park Hospital want to screen at least 245 people with a family history of the disease as they are 15 times more likely to develop it.

It is hoped screening relatives of people with the condition will lead to a better understanding of how it develops and therefore find ways to prevent it.

To take part in the study, people should be aged three to 45 with a brother, sister, child or parent with type 1 diabetes or three to 20 if they have a cousin, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, half-brother, half-sister or grandparent with the condition.

It involves giving a small blood sample from the arm, which will be tested for autoantibodies associated with type 1 diabetes – they are made by the to attack and damage specific organs or tissues.

For people whose results are negative for autoantibodies their risk of developing diabetes is lower than if they test positive but it does not mean they will never get the disease.

If a blood test is positive, the survey team will contact participant. Testing positive does not automatically mean people will get diabetes but they are at greater risk.

People may then be asked to have another blood test to confirm the results and will be invited to remain within the monitoring part of the study, with follow up tests once or twice a year.

Consultant endocrinologist Dr Isy Douek said: “The purpose of this study is to enable us to gain a better understanding of how type 1 diabetes develops and help us find ways to delay and prevent it.”

The research team at Musgrove Park Hospital are part of the UK network of screening sites and one of more than 200 centres worldwide throughout North America, Europe and Australasia.

The study has been running at the hospital since late 2012 and has already screened more than 100 people.

For more details call Sue Crouch on 01823-344738 or Kirsty O’Brien on 01823- 342083.-