New Protein/Blood Study Could Help Detect Diabetes Years Earlier

New Protein/Blood Study Could Help Detect Diabetes Years Earlier

11.07.12 | By Kaelan Hollon

A group of Swedish researchers just identified a new protein marker that could help detect Type II diabetes up to five years earlier - that's huge news for patients. Lund University just published the study results in a journal called 'Cell Metabolism', and it's picked up a bit of steam with coverage in Medical News Today and Bioscience Technology.

From Lund University's website (hit Google Translate; it's in Swedish):

"If we can point to an increased risk of diabetes in a middle-aged individual of normal weight using a simple blood test, up to ten years before the disease develops, this could provide strong motivation to them to improve their lifestyle to reduce the risk", says Anders Rosengren, adding:
"In the long term, our findings could also lead to new methods of treating type 2 diabetes by developing ways of blocking the protein SFRP4 in the insulin-producing beta cells and reducing inflammation, thereby protecting the cells."

According to American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million children and adults have diabetes in the US, or about 8.3% of our population. The researchers at Lund looked at a specific protein called SFRP4, which has a role in the inflammatory responses in the body, and how it relates to risk of diabetes. The results were pretty clear, and staggering, at that. People who tested with above-average levels of the SFRP4 protein were five times more likely to develop Type II diabetes in the next few years than those with below-average levels. Lund researchers theorize that low-grade inflammation of beta cells weakens a person's ability to produce insulin over time, and can contribute significantly to diabetes risk.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so we'll have plenty of content throughout the month to keep you updated on new treatments, research, and news in this space. If you have some story ideas or news suggestions, feel free to drop me a line.

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