October 26, 2021

Genetic Biomarkers May Help in Early Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes

Genetic Biomarkers for Diabetes

Studying Genetic Biomarkers for Type 2 Diabetes

Unique genetic biomarkers may ultimately help in the early identification of children with a higher than average chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Some of these biomarkers may be identified in a research study headed by Nancy F. Butte and financed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Service’s National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Butte is a professor of pediatric medicine at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Pediatricians, as well as other health care professionals, may one day make use of the biomarkers as a tool in developing preventive strategies. Similarly,  nutritionists who focus on scientifically-based methods of preventing type 2 diabetes among America’s children may use the results of this research in their efforts.

In developing the biomarkers, Butte and her colleagues’ are building upon earlier work in which the researchers discovered a region that has a bearing on fasting blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels are often indicators of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Biomarkers discovered by the fine-scale mapping may well prove to be a sign of predisposition to type 2 diabetes amongst children.

The chromosomal region where the biomarkers were found had previously been tied to the risk of obesity in adults. However, the earlier studies were not linked to the risk of type 2 diabetes for either children or adults..

Butte will present the  mapping study results in October at the national meeting of the Obesity Society in San Diego, California..

This diabetes research is just one example of studies funded by the ARS, designed to enhance children’s health and nutrition, a major priority of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.