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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Diabetic Girls Who Skip Insulin Shots Increase Risk of Eye Damage

June 26, 1997|From Times staff and wire reports

Many diabetic teen-age girls suffer eating disorders and others often skip their insulin injections as a way of losing weight, both of which sharply increase their risk of eye damage, according to a report in today's New England Journal of Medicine. Typically, youngsters with diabetes gain about 10 pounds when they start taking insulin shots.

Dr. Gary M. Rodin and his colleagues from Toronto Hospital found that 86% of diabetic girls who skipped insulin doses or had eating problems had early stages of diabetic retinopathy, a serious eye condition that can lead to blindness. By comparison, 24% of those with normal eating habits had the eye disorder. Rodin said group counseling sessions for diabetic girls and their parents appear to significantly reduce the girls' habit of skimping on insulin.

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