Scientists have identified metabolites in the blood that accurately predict whether a woman will develop type 2 diabetes after experiencing a transient form of illness (gestational diabetes) during pregnancy. This discovery could lead to a test that would help doctors identify patients at greatest risk and help them potentially avert the disease through interventions including diet and exercise. The research was led by Michael Wheeler, PhD, a Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with Hannes Röst, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics and Computer Science at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, Feihan Dai, PhD, a research scientist of physiology and Erica Gunderson, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Northern California. Mi Lai, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in Wheeler's group performed much of the analyses. "There is a metabolic dysregulation that occurs in the group of women that will go on to develop type 2 diabetes that is present in the early postpartum period, suggesting that there is an underlying problem that exists already and we can detect it," says Dr. Wheeler, who is also a senior scientist at Toronto General Hospital Institute at University Health Network. The identified metabolic signature can predict with over 85 per cent accuracy if a woman will develop type 2 diabetes (T2D), as described in a study published online on May 20, 2020 in PLOS Medicine.
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