Four new genes associated with type 2 diabetes have been identified by researchers, who also pinpointed six independent diabetes-associated gene variants at previously known locations on chromosomes.

These findings, from an analysis of 50,000 genetic variants across 2,000 genes linked to heart and metabolic function, appeared in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

The results offer valuable insight into the genetic risk for type 2 diabetes in multiple ethnic groups and could help lead to new treatments, according to researchers.


A number of environmental and genetic factors are associated with type 2 diabetes.

"Together, known (type 2 diabetes genetic variants explain only about 10% of the genetic variance, indicating that additional genetic factors are likely to contribute to disease risk," senior study coauthor Brendan Keating, MD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said.

"Further, previous studies have been based almost exclusively on individuals of European ancestry, and genetic contributors to (type 2 diabetes) are less well understood in non-European populations," he added. "An important first step toward understanding genetic risk across populations is to establish whether known (diabetes-associated) genes span ethnicities or are population-specific."

The Analysis

Dr. Keating and an international team of colleagues analyzed 39 multiethnic studies on type 2 diabetes that included more than 17,000 people with diabetes and 70,000 people without the disease.

"As a result of our large-scale genetic analysis, we uncovered previously unknown European and multiethnic genetic variants and confirmed that, together, known genetic risk factors influence (type 2 diabetes) risk in multiethnic populations, including African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians," said senior coauthor Richa Saxena, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

What Results Mean

Dr. Saxena said that identifying new genes associated with type 2 diabetes in diverse ethnic groups could eventually guide strategies for developing treatments.

Vitamin D Lowers Risk for Diabetes

Researchers in Germany have found that people with adequate blood levels of vitamin D had a lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those with low levels of vitamin D. Protection against diabetes, which is a chronic inflammatory condition, is believed to come from vitamin D's anti-inflammatory effect. People should have their vitamin D levels checked annually and ensure that they have blood levels of between 50 ng/ml and 80 ng/ml.

Diabetes Medication Raises Bladder Cancer Risk by 40%

The Food and Drug Administration has found that people with diabetes who take pioglitazone (Actos) for one year or longer have a 40% increased risk for bladder cancer. If you are taking pioglitazone, speak to your doctor about changing medications...or work with a holistic doctor to treat diabetes naturally.

One in Three US Adults Could Have Diabetes by 2050

Currently one in nine people has the disease. The predicted increase in cases is attributable to aging of the population, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, people with diabetes living longer and an increase in the population of minority groups that are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

Proteins That Reduce Diabetes Risk

Replacing one daily serving of red meat with Knuts, whole grains or a low-fat dairy product reduced risk for type 2 diabetes by 16% to 35% according to a recent study. Consuming about four ounces of red meat per day increased diabetes risk by 19%. Processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs increased risk the most.

Possible reasons: Red meat is high in "heme" iron, which can contribute to diabetes. Processed meat has a high sodium content and contains chemical preservatives, such as nitrates, that can damage insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Self-defense: Limit unprocessed red meat to two or three servings per week and processed meat to one serving a week.

Diabetes and Cancer Risk

People with diabetes have about a 10% greater likelihood of all cancers combined and a much higher likelihood of certain other cancers, including cancers of the pancreas, bladder and kidney.

Possible reason: High blood levels of glucose and insulin, plus chronic inflammation.

Insulin Resistance Causes More Than Diabetes

High blood pressure, memory problems and Il fatigue can be linked to insulin-resistance. People who are insulin-resistant have an impaired ability to control their bodies' blood glucose levels. In addition to diabetes, the condition can lead to cardiovascular disease, decreased immunity, depression, increased inflammation, weight gain and breast and colon cancers.

Self-defense: Ask your doctor about getting tested for insulin-resistance.

Extreme Heat Is More Dangerous for Diabetics

People who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes often have difficulty adjusting to rises in temperature. Also, due to nerve damage associated with diabetes, their sweat glands may not produce enough perspiration to cool them down. This may explain why people with diabetes have higher rates of hospitalization, dehydration and death in warmer months. Winter also can be a problem for diabetics because poor circulation increases the likelihood of skin damage in the cold weather.

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