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Lipid genes could predict diabetes

Scientists in the United States and the Netherlands have shown that genes that control lipid levels in the body could offer an early prediction of diabetes and heart disease, in combined monitoring of 10,212 patients with measurements of carotid intima media thickness (IMT) and plaques .
Two separate studies have revealed that the ability of lipid genes, with one lipid component, called dihydroceramide (dhCer), appearing to be a type 2 diabetes risk factor that was independent of both glucose and insulin levels found during research in Texas, and another study in Rotterdam finding that a risk score that pooled small effects of common genetic variants was able to predict carotid plaque, arterial wall thickness and coronary heart disease .
Despite its high cost, experts hope that using genetic testing will add to that already provided by checking for regular clinical risk factors to predict diabetes and heart disease. Such testing seems to be most useful for assessing the best approach for prevention in those patients that have intermediate risk.
For the Dutch study, which examined lipid-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), Sara Willems commented “As our knowledge of genetic variation increases, preclinical genetic screening tools might enhance the prediction and prevention of clinical events.”
Joanne E. Curra, for the research carried out at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, pointed out “We are optimistic that our discovery will lead to new treatments, but in the short-term, the importance of finding out at an early stage whether any individual is likely to develop it cannot be overstated.”

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