Research published in the journal Diabetes Care, shows how a genetic test can help doctors to differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes in young adults.
With rising obesity levels it is sometimes difficult for doctors to distinguish between type 1 diabetes, which requires treatment with insulin injections and type 2 diabetes, which can be controlled through diet and weight loss. The Exeter team has devised a genetic risk score which can help identify people between 20 and 40 who will require insulin treatment.
Researchers devised a test which measures 30 genetic variants in DNA and combines all the risks associated with them in a single score, which can then act as a summary of genetic risk for type 1 diabetes. If a person’s score is high they are likely to have type 1 diabetes, if it is low then it will be type 2.
The researchers believe this will provide important additional information for doctors when making a diagnosis and suggest that the test can be used in addition to an existing commonly used test which measures anti-bodies.
The Exeter team is now working to develop a test that any clinical laboratory could run cheaply and quickly.