NHS England: New genetic test to identify thousands with rare diabetes

NHS England | August 2021 | NHS to diagnose thousands of people with rare diabetes

NHS England is rolling out a new test that will recognise monogenic diabetes, a rare form of diabetes: one in 50 people with diabetes have monogenic diabetes. The test will help to identify diabetes in thousands of people unaware they are living with the disease, alongside a new training scheme for staff.The test is also capable of spotting whether children have inherited the affected gene, and if they will develop monogenic diabetes. The health service is training hundreds of staff across the country to be experts in the rare condition.

It is thought that around 12 000 people in England have the condition, which if left undetected can mean patients struggle to manage glucose levels. If these high glucose levels go untreated for a long period of time it can cause blindness, amputations and greater risk of a heart attack (Source: NHS England).

NHS England NHS to diagnose thousands of people with rare diabetes

See also:

Guidelines New genetic test to identify monogenic diabetes rolled out by England

Risk of type 2 diabetes detectable at age 8, finds Bristol research

Bell, J.A., | 2019| Early metabolic features of genetic liability to type 2 diabetes: cohort study with repeated metabolomics across early life | | https://doi.org/10.1101/767756

A team of researchers from Bristol University, partly funded by Diabetes UK, used data from the  offspring from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children cohort (n=4761) and measured their cholesterol, amino and fatty acids, among others for the same individuals across four stages of early life:

  • childhood (age 8),
  • adolescence (age 16),
  • young-adulthood (age 18),
  • adulthood (age 25)


The team used a genetic risk score, which combines information from 160 genetic differences linked to Type 2 diabetes, to pinpoint participants who were at a higher risk of developing the condition. In addition they also took blood samples to look for changes in over 220 different chemicals and processes involved in metabolism.


This enabled them to to find out if having a high genetic risk of adult Type 2 diabetes was linked to changes inside the body early on in life (metabollic traits).  Those in the study with a high genetic risk had signs of problems with their metabolism (in their childhood and early adulthood. The researchers report that signs of type 2 diabetes liability are detectable in childhood, apparent as early as age 8, decades before the disease before the clinical onset of disease (Source: Bell et al, 2019; Diabetes UK).

The research is available in full from Biorxiv

Diabetes UK Early signs of Type 2 diabetes risk could be seen decades before a diagnosis

In the news:

Sky News Adult type 2 diabetes markers found in kids as young as eight

ITV News Early indications of adult type 2 diabetes found in children aged eight – study

OnMedica Signs of adult diabetes visible in young children

Night Shift Work and Type 2 Diabetes in the UK

New study looking at the connection between shift work and type 2 diabetes finds that more frequent night work increased the odds of type 2 diabetes, regardless of genetic type 2 diabetes risk. | Diabetes Care | via ScienceDaily

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A team of researchers examined data on hundreds of thousands of people in the UK Biobank to better understand how shift work — especially frequent night work — contributes to the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. The team also developed a genetic risk score for type 2 diabetes, examining genetic data for tens of thousands of workers in the database. They found that more frequent night work increased the odds of type 2 diabetes, regardless of genetic type 2 diabetes risk, among the population studied.

Those with the highest genetic risk scores were almost four times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to individuals who had lower genetic risk scores. Those who reported working irregular or rotating shifts with usual night shifts were 44 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes, after taking into account other established risk factors.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Full reference: Vetter, C et al. | Night Shift Work, Genetic Risk, and Type 2 Diabetes in the UK Biobank | Diabetes Care |  February 2018