News / Health

    Gene Mutation Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

    Discovery could lead to prevention, early treatment for those most at risk

    People with type 2 diabetes must monitor their blood sugar because their bodies cannot convert blood sugar into energy.  Sugar build up in the blood, can lead to serious complications, including death.
    People with type 2 diabetes must monitor their blood sugar because their bodies cannot convert blood sugar into energy. Sugar build up in the blood, can lead to serious complications, including death.

    Multimedia

    Carol Pearson

    Scientists have identified a unique genetic mutation in about 10 percent of people with type 2 diabetes studied in the United States and Europe. The discovery could help some people learn if they are at risk of developing diabetes so they can seek early treatment and possibly avoid getting the disease altogether.

    More than 200 million people worldwide suffer from type 2 diabetes, a potentially fatal disorder. The World Health Organization expects diabetes-related deaths to double by 2030. Diabetes strikes people in rich and poor countries alike. World Health Organization statistics show that more than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Age and obesity are two risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Another is family history.

    "Diabetes is a very important disease that is increasing in every country in the world," says Dr. Ira Goldfine, who has been studying the DNA of people with and without diabetes. "And we need to know what causes it.  And we have to get better treatments for it."

    With type 2 diabetes, the body cannot turn blood sugar into energy.  When sugar builds up in the blood, it can lead to serious complications including death. That's why people afflicted with the disease need to monitor their blood sugar.

    "I have to test my blood virtually every day and make sure that my blood sugar is in a relatively normal range," says Dr. Arthur Lyons was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years ago.

    It was while studying DNA that Goldfine and his colleagues isolated the genetic mutation.

    "We found a protein that’s important, and we found that there are defects of this protein in diabetics," he says.  

    The gene that makes this protein is called HMGA-1. The protein is important because it is an insulin receptor, which enables insulin to attach to liver cells and converts blood sugar to energy.

    "If you don’t have the HMGA-1 gene, then you don’t make the insulin receptor, and if you don’t make the insulin receptor, insulin doesn’t work very effectively," says Goldfine.

    Goldfine is one of the co-authors of the study that found the HMGA-1 mutation in some Italian diabetics. The researchers then repeated the finding in American and French patients.  All patients were Caucasian. They found that about 10 percent of type 2 diabetics in the United States and Europe, again all Caucasian, have defects in this gene”

    "We have a screening test now to identify these people and people who are related to them so we can start treatment and intervention early," says Goldfine.

    Early intervention for people with the HMGA-1 mutation including lifestyle changes: getting enough exercise, keeping weight in the normal range and monitoring blood sugar could prevent some people from developing type 2 diabetes. The researchers also say understanding the genetic component of this disease could help doctors provide better treatments to patients with type 2 diabetes, or even one day correct the genetic defect and prevent the disease that way.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora