Scientists have developed a new technique for predicting the onset and timing of diabetes in mice based on identifying nanoparticles using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which could help the allow for the study of the developmental stages of diabetes with improved accuracy and uniformity.
The study, by a team from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, whose work has been published in the journal Nature Immunology, meant they were able to identify a genetic predisposition for type 1 diabetes, with initial data for mice testing also showing that it could work for humans as well.
When it was also revealed that the diagnostic windown, which only lasts from six to 10 weeks of age, was both early and brief, they realised that type 1 diabetes progression is set very early in life, and that the condition does not need any extra trigger such as a secondary infection. They also showed that they could use this diagnostic information to advantage to help prevent diabetes in the mice predisposed to it.
The team discovered they could predict which mice would go on to develop diabetes, and also how soon they would do so. As first author Wenxian Fu also commented “There’s a nice correlation between the intensity of the signal and how quickly they will develop diabetes.”
Researcher Diane Mathis said “This research is about predicting type 1 diabetes, and using that predictive power to figure out what is different between those who get it and those who don’t get it.”

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