Researchers in the US have claimed that levels of a particular enzyme in the body could help predict diabetes . The study is examining ways of developing an easy and fast test for detecting pre-diabetes, long before there are any symptoms of the disease and with enough time to reverse its onset.
A team of scientists at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore have found a large amount of a difficult-to-detect sugar, O-GlcNAc, occurs as a reaction to stress and diet in people with diabetes . One of the graduate students working on the research, Kyoungsook Park, measured the easier-to-detect enzyme O-GlcNAcase, which helps break O-GlcNAc down, as a means of working out how early this elevation may begin and how helpful it could be to provide an early diagnosis of the metabolic condition.
Park investigated enzyme levels in blood samples already characterised using traditional tests requiring patient fasting. The research, published in the journal Diabetes, revealed that levels of this enzyme were two or three times higher in those who had pre-diabetes and diabetes than in controls with no disease.
Park said about the study, “When I checked the enzyme levels and saw how dramatically different they were between the pre-diabetic cells and the controls, I thought I did something wrong. I repeated the test five times until I could believe it myself.”

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