Monday, 12 April 2010

Diabetic bracelets

Smaller babies more likely to need diabetic bracelets in later life

While type 2 diabetes is often associated with heavier adults, research suggests that smaller newborn babies are actually more likely to need diabetic bracelets when they grow up.

A particular gene - ADCY5 - has been associated not only with lower birth weight, but also with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes some 50 or 60 years later.

It is one of two genetic areas identified in research conducted by the Wellcome Trust as potentially influencing birth weight and which has also been linked with the development of type 2 diabetes.

While environmental conditions within the womb had previously been associated with the weight of the baby at birth, the genetic effect - and the connection with needing diabetic bracelets five or six decades later - surprised researchers.

One of the research leaders, the University of Oxford's Mark McCarthy, comments: 'It was a surprise to see such strong genetic effects for a characteristic, such as birth weight, which is subject to powerful influences from so many environmental factors.'

In studies of more than 38,000 European participants, those with two 'risk copies' of the gene were seen to be 25 per cent more likely to develop diabetes as adults.

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