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An altered gut microbiota can predict diabetes


Intestinal bacteria may have a greater influence on us than was previously thought. In a study published in the Nature, researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have shown that patients with type 2 diabetes have an altered gut microbiota.
Their findings have led to a new model to identify patients at increased risk of developing diabetes.

The human body contains ten times more bacteria than human cells. Most of these bacteria comprise the normal gut microbiota. Our bodies thus contain a vast number of bacterial genes in addition to the genes in our own cells, and are collectively known as the metagenome.

Researchers have compared the metagenome of 145 women with diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and healthy controls, and showed that women with type 2 diabetes have an altered gut microbiota.

Furthermore, healthy women have higher numbers of gut bacteria known to be producers of butyrate, a fatty acid that has previously been linked to beneficial health effect.

On the basis of these findings, the researchers developed a new model that can distinguish between patients with type 2 diabetes and healthy women by analysis of the metagenome. This model has better predictive value than the classical predictive markers used today, such as body-mass index and waist-hip ratio. ( Xagena )

Source: University of Gothenburg, 2013

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