Protein May Help Predict Diabetes Risk, Study Says
July - 16 - 2008
Doctors might be able to measure a person's risk for Type 2 diabetes years in advance using fetuin-A, a liver-generated protein, that may be involved in the metabolism of glucose as well as calcium, according to a study led by University of California at San Diego professor Joachim Ix. High levels of glucose in the blood are a sign of Type 2 diabetes, and the researchers learned that septuagenarians with high levels of fetuin-A had a higher probability of developing Type 2 diabetes over the six years of the study than those with low levels. "It might ultimately be useful to use this [fetuin-A] for screening and identifying people at higher risk for diabetes," notes Ix. "It might be that using medications that control glucose earlier might actually prevent diabetes in those people. It might be that if you identify people at higher risk, they may be more motivated to do things like diet and exercise that are known to be important in preventing development of diabetes." Ix adds that fetuin-A, which reduces the body's sensitivity to insulin, could be targeted by future diabetes treatment or prevention drugs. He says that middle-aged people's risk for diabetes might also be determined by measuring blood levels of the protein. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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Boston Globe (07/09/08) Dunham, Will