Gene testing for diabetes risk is not useful
This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.
Genetic testing can yield some information about one’s risk for various diseases. But when it comes to the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes, undergoing gene testing is not significantly better than an assessment based on traditional risk factors for the disease, such as weight, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study showed that gene testing can reveal risk-associated gene variants, and the more you inherit, the greater the chance for developing the disease. But for now, a standard checkup will ‘tell what you need to know about your Type 2 diabetes risk,’ said the lead author of the study, Dr. James Meigs of Massachusetts General Hospital.
The researchers analyzed records from the Framingham Offspring Study, which follows a group of adult children of participants of the original Framingham study. The database included more than 2,700 participants, with 255 of them developing Type 2 diabetes after 28 years of follow-up.
It’s possible that as more genes associated with Type 2 diabetes are discovered, the value of gene testing may become more useful. But, for now, old-fashioned methods of predicting risk are just as good. Still, gene testing may turn out to be a good thing to do, says Meigs, if it makes some patients more willing to change their lifestyles to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
-- Shari Roan