A snapshot of diabetes

As societies age and waistlines expand, diabetes mellitus type 2 has become a major global health issue. In older patients with late-onset type 2 diabetes, the disorder can cause damage to organs such as the kidneys and eyes, as well as the cardiovascular and nervous systems, leading to high rates of hospitalisation and mortality.

To better understand the complex metabolic changes associated with late onset diabetes, an international team led by Prof Bernhard Boehm from NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine conducted a study on a large cohort of late-onset type 2 diabetes patients.

Using high-throughput ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, they profiled the metabolites in patient urine samples, and compared the metabolic profiles of late-onset patients to those of earlier-onset patients.

Together with colleagues from the Singapore Phenome Centre at NTU and Germany’s University of Ulm, the research team identified four novel metabolite biomarkers whose levels were increased in the cohort of late-onset patients.

The information gleaned from the study will help physicians to tailor therapies to the late-onset group, the researchers say.

The study “Metabolite profiling in identifying metabolic biomarkers in older people with late-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus” can be found in Scientific Reports (2017), DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-01735-y.
This article appeared first in NTU’s research & innovation magazine Pushing Frontiers (issue #12, December 2017).

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