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Nipping diabetes in the blood
Date:1/27/2014

An estimated 25.8 million Americans have diabetes. Another 79 million are thought to have "prediabetes," meaning they are at risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Now Dr. Nataly Lerner of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and her colleagues have discovered that a simple blood test reveals an individual's risk of developing type-2 diabetes before they develop either condition far earlier than previously believed. The findings, published in the European Journal of General Practice, could help doctors provide earlier diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Michal Shani and Prof. Shlomo Vinker of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Clalit Health Services collaborated on the study.

"Our study supports the idea that the A1c test, used to diagnose type-2 diabetes, can also be used at a much earlier stage to screen for the disease in the high risk population, like overweight patients," said Dr. Lerner.

Testing the test

In healthy people, glucose is absorbed from the blood for use by various tissues. But the cells of people with type-2 diabetes are resistant to insulin, which is produced by the pancreas and is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. These individuals have higher-than-normal blood glucose levels. People with prediabetes have blood glucose levels somewhere between normal and diabetic.

Blood glucose can be directly tested in several ways, but these tests only provide a snapshot. To get a picture of blood glucose levels over time, doctors test for levels of glycated hemoglobin, or A1c, in the blood. When blood glucose levels are high, more A1c is formed. So A1c serves as a biomarker, indicating average blood glucose levels over a two- to three-month period.

The A1c test has long been used to monitor type-2 diabetes. And in the past few years, the American Diabetes Association and World Health Organization have added the test to their guidelines as a criterion
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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