Curing diabetes in the womb?

Groundbreaking research being done in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – A study being done in San Antonio is looking to fight diabetes from inside the womb. The research is happening at University Hospital using specialized equipment.

Cooing and inspecting the room around her, it is not a typical visit to doctors for 4-month-old Ruby Crump. She is now part of a study that's taking on a worldwide epidemic.

"I have an aunt who has diabetes," Brittany Crump said.

The new mom decided that she would join the fight against obesity and diabetes.

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While it has come up in other relatives, neither mom nor baby have been diagnosed with the disease, but researchers are focused on their body composition.

As the baby lays inside a machine, measurements of her muscle and body fat are being taken.

The pea-pod calculates the numbers in minutes just by measuring the air surrounding her little body.
Mom is also participating in this research.

"We're trying to understand if the babies are pre-progrmamed since birth to have a different distribution of body fat or the muscles as well," Dr. Cynthia Blanco said.

Doctors know fat in the abdominal area puts older children and adults at risk.

Now the question is, can certain areas of fat at birth predict a person's risk for diabetes.

READ MORE: How to stop prediabetes from becoming diabetes

Researchers at the Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology at UT Health-San Antonio and University Hospital are also looking to see if what people eat, helps their babies prevent the disease while inside the womb.

"Just to try and say, ‘Hey there are these particular two or three nutrients that are really good to turn off the bad genes," Blanco said.

Brittany Crump is just as intrigued.

“I would just be curious about my genetics and (whether) what I ate (while she was) in the womb can effect Ruby long term," she said. 

Forty families taking part in the study.

For now babies are measured at birth, then at three months, six months and one-year mark. Researchers hope to gain more funding to continue the study for a longer period.

Parents who are interested in having their babies participate can call 210-567-5262 to setup an appointment.

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