Diabetes and heart disease: Fat levels in blood could improve risk prediction

Measuring the levels of 184 fat molecules in the blood could improve how we assess people’s risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease

The levels of 184 fat molecules within the blood can be used to predict who is most at risk. type 2 diabetesand cardiovascular disease, even years before symptoms appear.

Doctors currently assess the risk of these conditions by measuring people’s body mass index, blood pressure, levels of cholesterolBlood sugar. Certain genetic profilesLinked to increased disease risk

“We show how [measuring blood fat concentrations] can expand our toolkit for early detection of individuals at high risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases,” Chris LauberLipotype GmbH, a German biotech company, stated in a press release.

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Lauber and his associates analysed data about around 4000 people who had participated in a previous survey. studyThis was from 1991 to 2015. Their blood samples were analysed with a mass spectrometer to measure the levels of 184 fats – also known as lipids.

This information was used to train computer models that could link type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease to the lipid concentrations in two thirds of participants at the beginning of the original study.

They used the models to calculate disease risk scores from lipid levels in the remaining third of people who weren’t included in the training data set. The new approach predicted that 10% of people were most at risk for type 2 diabetes. This was 168 percent higher than the average rate in the study group.

The 10% of people who were most at risk for developing cardiovascular disease had an 84% higher rate than the average of all participants.

The analysis showed that fat profiles were more accurate in predicting disease risk than genetic data. Using them together slightly improved the results over using only the lipid profile.

“We need multiple ways to capture the risk [of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease]In a specific way for each individual. Risk scores [calculated from fat profiles] may well turn out to be a new and efficient tool for prevention of these diseases with great societal burden,” says Samuli RipattiFinnish University of Helsinki

More studies are needed in order to confirm the results.

Although the mass spectrometers are used to measure lipid profiles in some clinical laboratories, further research may be possible to measure blood fats more broadly.

“The challenge now is to develop a platform that can translate these exciting findings into a clinical test,” says Peter MeikleThe Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne (Australia).

Journal reference: PLoS Biology , DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001561

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