Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects nearly 21 million in the United States and the incidence of the disease has skyrocketed in the last 30 years. Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, as well as the most common cause in U. S. adults of blindness, kidney failure and amputations not related to trauma.
It is growing in some countries at the astounding rate of 50% a year and is becoming an international epidemic.
A study involving the genomes of 32,554 people were tested making it one of the largest genome-wide association efforts conducted to date. Researchers from the University of Michigan, the National Human Genome Research Institute, the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina, and Finland's National Health Institute conducted the study.
The findings will be posted in April in the online edition of the journal ‘Science’.
They have identified at least four new genetic variants associated with increased risk of diabetes and confirmed existence of another six. “This achievement represents a major milestone in our battle against diabetes. It will accelerate efforts to understand the genetic risk factors for this disease, as well as explore how these genetic factors interact with each other and with lifestyle factors, " said National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M. D.
"These genetic risk factors will make it more likely that we can predict who is at risk for the disease, " says Richard Bergman, Ph. D. , the chair of the department of physiology and biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “We know type 2 takes a long time to develop and if we can identify those at risk of the disease, we may be able to prevent or delay the risk of disease in these people. "
"This is a very exciting time for the genetics of type 2 diabetes. There are real signals in the genome for the disease. Many are unexpected or unexplained and each one accounts for only a small risk, " says Tom Buchanan, M. D. , professor of medicine at USC. “However, together they account for a lot of risk. Our challenge now, a challenge that the USC Diabetes Group has already begun to undertake in human studies, is to figure out how the risk genes work and how they work together with environmental factors to cause diabetes. "
Of course the closer researchers get to finding a cause for diabetes, it follows that a cure cannot be far behind. So there is hope!
Jack Krohn has had Diabetes, Pre-diabetes and Syndrome X for nearly fifteen years. He speaks from the experiences he has had during that time. His new website is devoted to educating patients of DIABETES
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