Scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have found three sub-types of type 2 diabetes after studying more than 11,000 patient records. They have analyzed electronic medical records and genotype of these patients and could identify common genetic variants among them. Read on to know more details about the discovery.
As per a new study, routine medical records of patients can be used to identify unidentified patterns of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The researchers found revealed three distinctive subgroups of type 2 diabetics after analyzing medical records of more than 11,000 patients.
Joel Dudley is a director of biomedical informatics and an assistant professor of genetics and genomic sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. According to him, each of the subgroup is found to suffer from unique health issues related to type 2 diabetes and have common genetic traits to explain those challenges.
Joel Dudley said “Not only did the clinical data tell us those were meaningful groups, but the genetics pointed toward potential biological factors that explain these differences in clinical characteristics,???.
Type-2 Diabetics Study Data
The study included both the youngest and extremely obese patients comprising of people with risk of kidney disease and blindness, cancer and heart disease. The other group which was studied had people with various different health problems-heart disease, mental illness, allergy and HIV infection.
The doctor can recommend aggressive examination of the patients considering the various health problems of different groups. For example: Prescribing heart-healthy medications for people with risk of heart diseases.
Chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, Dr. Robert Ratner, said that it’s a “major leap of faith from their study” to suppose that patients medical history can bring more clarity.
He also said “I don’t disagree with them that understanding the multiple different forms of diabetes is critically important,???,”To be blunt, I’m not sure this analysis contributes very much.”
This is because the authors took very little data to get to the results and they have already admitted to this fact.
How The Discovery Took Place?
The researchers studied electronic health data of 11,210 patients at Mount Sinai out of which 2,551 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The result is based on full blood panel and a genetic analysis.
The researchers designed a map placing patients in different groups depending upon their numbers from their blood tests.
Dudley said “It’s almost like building up a social network, where you connect people because they share the same friends or the same interests, only in this case it was similar blood test results, things like that,???
After placing the patients in groups, researchers analyzed whether the type 2 diabetes patients had been categorized in the same group based on similar characteristics.
This was the turning point of the study. The scientists found three subgroups which shared genetic traits that put them at risk of common diseases- cancer or heart disease.
According to Dudley anyone can use this approach to sub-categorize any chronic disease. He thinks this phenomenon of using large amounts of data for genetic analysis will be a more common thing in the future. So, doctors should now make use of electronic health records that help them to track patient’s information.
But Ratner is still in not much favor of this new methodology. He says studying so many medical records altogether can result into many groups of people with common problems but it states that “It probably takes you down a great many blind alleys,??? He still isn’t fully convinced with this new approach.