The feature article focuses on how his leadership and research has improved the care of patients with diabetes, particularly pregnant women.
In his four decades as a scientist and physician, Gabbe has helped countless diabetic women—who otherwise might have delivered stillborn or disabled children—to have healthy babies. One of his basic science findings, in 1972, had important clinical implications: while doctors previously believed that the placenta was not affected by a pregnant woman’s insulin levels, Gabbe showed that insulin could, in fact, alter its ability to provide energy to a growing fetus. The finding suggested that artfully controlling an expectant mother’s diabetes— whether she already had the disease or developed it during pregnancy— could prevent its associated malformations, stillbirths, and obesity. In two large trials, he proved it.