The research has been conducted by University of Plymouth and Nestlé
Results of long-term study could help identify children at risk of future type 2 diabetes.
EarlyBird, a cohort study that followed 300 children from age 5 to adulthood, has shed new light on why some are more likely to develop the disease.
Researchers at the University of Plymouth and Nestlé have revealed new insights into the factors that predispose children to developing type 2 diabetes in adult life.
The findings have emerged from a unique study, EarlyBird, that followed 300 healthy children in Plymouth, UK, for 15 years to determine who would become at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and why.
The EarlyBird researchers monitored the children from five years of age to early adulthood to explore how the metabolism changes during growth. The findings, appearing in a series of peer-reviewed scientific publications, have shed new light on the biological and physiological factors that are relevant for metabolic health in childhood.
The latest results, published in Diabetes Care, show that the earliest event leading to pre-diabetes (the earliest signs of diabetes) is dysfunction of the pancreatic beta-cell, independent of body weight. Beta-cells in the pancreas produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. The study also showed that this beta-cell dysfunction was associated with the presence of genetic factors previously associated with type 2 diabetes in adults.
This discovery could lead to the early identification of children that are at high risk of future type 2 diabetes.