IIT Madras research can help detect risk of diabetes, other metabolic diseases early

IIT Madras: The research team found that a gene or protein variation puts Indians, South Asians at increased risk of diabetes, hypertension

IIT Madras research can help detect risk of diabetes, other metabolic diseases early IITM: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras
Abhiraj P | Jan 31, 2022 - 6:15 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: An international research team led by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has identified a genetic variation among Indians and South Asians that increases the chances of getting diabetes, heart attacks and hypertension.

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According to the study, around 15 percent of Indian and other South Asian populations possess this variation, and people with this variation are 1.5 times more at risk of getting hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and coronary artery disease. This could be the reason behind the prevalence of metabolic diseases among this group, the study says.

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The research paper has been published online in the American journal Diabetes, the flagship journal of the American Diabetes Association. Nitish R. Mahapatra, from the biotechnology department, IIT Madras, along with Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta from the school of biosciences, IIT Madras led the research team. Researchers from international research institutions and Indian research institutions co-authored the research paper.

According to Mahapatra, Bhupat and Mehta, South Asians are at a higher risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Apart from the environmental factors that contribute to this condition, genetic variation in the population could be responsible. But, these variations are not understood correctly, they said. “Our study identified one key genetic risk factor for cardio-metabolic diseases. We also discovered the molecular basis for the enhanced disease risk in people who carry this mutation in their genomes,” said the researchers.

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“This study has implications in the area of diagnostics and personalized medicine. For example, our research findings may help in identifying individuals (at earlier stages of their lives – much before the onset of the disease- because the genetic make-up mostly remains unchanged throughout the life) who may be susceptible to type 2 diabetes,” Nitish Mahapatra said.

Previously, the findings of the IITM research team suggested that the variation was due to the higher plasma glucose levels.

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