Sign In
  • ENG

Use of genetics in type 1 diabetes diagnosis in India

Misdiagnosis of diabetes is an issue in India. This is because some features of diabetes in Indians may vary from the standard western textbooks. @Shutterstock

A new study reveals a way of using genetics to diagnose diabetes, which could pave the way for better diagnosis and treatment in India. Read on to know more.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Updated : June 13, 2020 10:12 AM IST

According to a new research, a genetic risk score, which tells how a person's risk compares to others with a different genetic constitution, can be an effective tool in diagnosing type 1 diabetes in Indians. This genetic risk score was developed by researchers at the University of Exeter. It takes into account detailed genetic information that is known to increase the chance of developing type 1 diabetes. A medical professional can use the score at the time of diabetes diagnosis to help decide if a person has type 1 diabetes.

Till now, most researches in this field was conducted on European populations. This is the first time that such a study concentrated on the Indian population. Researchers from KEM Hospital in Pune, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and the University of Exeter in the UK analysed whether the European risk score is effective in diagnosing type 1 diabetes in Indians. The Scientific Reports, an online multidisciplinary open-access journal from the publishers of Nature published this study.

Using genetics to diagnose diabetes

The above mentioned research was supported by Diabetes UK, the KEM Hospital Research Centre, Pune and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India. Researchers found that the test is effective in diagnosing the right type of diabetes in Indians, even in its current form, which is based on European data. This reveals a new way of using genetics to diagnose diabetes, which could pave the way for better diagnosis and treatment in India.

Also Read

More News

Researchers looked at 262 people with type 1 diabetes and 352 people with type 2 diabetes and 334 people without diabetes from Pune. They compared the outcomes from the Indian population with those of Europeans from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium study. They found genetic differences between the populations, which mean the test could be further improved to enhance outcomes for Indian populations.

Diabetes is on the rise in India

Misdiagnosis of diabetes is an issue in India. This is because some features of diabetes in Indians may vary from the standard western textbooks. Until recently, experts believed that type 1 diabetes is unique to children and adolescents. They also believed that type 2 diabetes was common in obese and older people. But the findings of the new study show that type 1 diabetes can also occur later in life. At the same time, type 2 diabetes is increasingly becoming more common among younger and thinner Indians.

The challenges of proper diagnosis in India

Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. Correct diagnose of the type of diabetes is important to avoid mistreatment. Experts believe that diagnosing the right diabetes type is an increasingly difficult challenge for clinicians. This task is more difficult in India, as more cases of type 2 diabetes occur in people with low BMI. But researchers of the above-mentioned study are hopeful that the genetic risk score can help get people treatment they need to avoid life-threatening complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis and achieve the best health outcomes. The new genetic tool will help decide when diabetes is mainly caused by autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells (type 1 diabetes), and when it is mainly caused by reduced action of insulin due to excess fat and smaller muscle mass in the body ('thin-fat Indians'), as is the case in type 2 diabetes, said researchers.

(With inputs from Agencies)

Total Wellness is now just a click away.

Follow us on