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Researchers at Lund University in Sweden

have found a new type of biomarker that

can predict the risk of Type 2 diabetes, by

detecting epigenetic changes in specific

genes through a simple blood test.

"This could motivate a person at

risk to change their lifestyle", said Karl

Bacos, researcher in epigenetics at

Lund University. Predicting the onset of

diabetes is already possible by measuring

the blood glucose level average, HbA1C,

over time. However, it is considered that

the predictive potential of this method is

modest and new methods are needed.

The discoveries made by the research

group at Lund University have now made

it possible to measure the presence of socalled DNA

methylations in four specific

genes, and thereby predict who is at

risk of developing type 2 diabetes, long

before the disease occurs. Methylations

are chemical changes that control

gene activity, that is, whether they are

active or not. They found that the DNA

methylations in the four genes in question


increased, depending on the donor's age.

This in turn affected the activity of the

genes. When these changes were copied

in cultured beta cells, they proved to have

a positive effect on insulin secretion. "We

could then see the same DNA methylation

changes in the blood", said Bacos.

"Increased insulin secretion actually

protects against type 2 diabetes. It could

be the body's way of protecting itself

when other tissue becomes resistant

to insulin, which often happens as we

get older", says professor and research

project manager Charlotte Ling. The

research group has previously shown that

age, diet and exercise affect the so-called

epigenetic risk of type 2 diabetes. "You

cannot change your genes and the risks

that they entail, but epigenetics means

that you can affect the DNA methylations,

and thereby gene activity, through lifestyle

choices", she added.

The results were published in Nature

Communications. To see the article click


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This year's annual DRWF Diabetes

Wellness Day South is being held on

25 June from 9:30am to 3:30pm at The

Solent Hotel, Whiteley, Hampshire.

The Diabetes Research & Wellness

Foundation (DRWF) charity raises public

awareness and funds to tackle Type

1 and Type 2 diabetes. Each year the

programme changes to focus on the

many different subjects that affect people

living with diabetes. This year the talks will

run as satellite sessions and be repeated

throughout the day covering topics such

as Diabetes in the 21st Century given by

an expert about the latest advances in

blood glucose monitoring, insulin pumps,

injection pens and what to expect in the

near future, as well as Tabs and jabs, facts

about medication and the latest tablets

and insulins.

There's a minimal fee to attend (£5)

but do register to attend via the website:



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