British scientists claim to have developed a blood test that could predict those at risk of getting diabetes 10 years earlier than available diagnosis.
A team at King’s College London has claimed the test can identify around half of people who will develop type 2 diabetes and distinguish between those who will and will not go on to develop some of the complications of the blood sugar condition, such as heart attack, stroke and poor circulation.
The test works by detecting levels of a genetic molecule in their blood; the same molecule, called a microRNA (MiR), could help pinpoint sufferers at high risk of heart and artery disease, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reported.
Lead scientist Dr. Manuel Mayr said he expected the MiR test to be used in conjunction with conventional methods.
Its biggest advantage was that it directly assessed the damage diabetes was causing to blood vessels.
“It’s very important for doctors to define those diabetic patients that are at the highest risk of developing cardiovascular complications. We hope that this new class of blood markers may give additional insight that we’re currently not getting from other clinical tests,” Dr. Mayr said.
For their research, the scientists studied 822 adults aged between 40 and 79 living in northern Italy. Of the two types of diabetes, type 2, or adult onset, diabetes is much more common.
Prof. Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation, which funded the research published in ‘Circulation Research’ journal, said, “This is important because right now there is no quick and simple way to monitor blood vessel health.”
“Problems go unnoticed until symptoms appear, and the first symptom could be as serious as a heart attack.” Prof. Jeremy added.