giving-bloodAt the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, scientists have discovered a panel of markers that helps identify if a person is prediabetic by measuring the fatty acids in their blood. This discovery may allow physicians to warn patients years before the onset of diabetes, therefore allowing them to change their lifestyle patterns potentially avoiding the diagnosis of a chronic disease.

"Currently there are no clinical tests that tell you the likelihood of developing diabetes, only exams that tell you for example if someone that is prediabetic has relatively high blood sugar or insulin levels," says Dr. Wei Jia director of the UH Cancer Center's Metabolomics Shared Resources Program. "To know if you are likely to get diabetes in a few years is an important discovery. People can hopefully get tested for the disease during physical exams in the future."

The unsaturated fatty acid markers recently identified in a study published online in the journal EBioMedicine can mark if someone is prediabetic long before conventional ways of measuring the disease. The levels of these fatty acids can change up to 10 years before the individuals are diagnosed with diabetes.

The markers through a blood sample test may help predict the risk of developing prediabetes and metabolic syndrome, which is a group of conditions including elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high glucose level.

"It is conventionally assumed that if people are obese they are in risk of being prediabetic. However, sometimes people who are obese can still be healthy. If people know they are specifically prediabetic they can have a more targeted way of treating it," says Dr. Jia.

The researchers aim to continue developing the blood test technology, and eventually have it available for physicians.

Source: University of Hawaii Cancer Center