Study finds sleep disorder link to diabetes
Researchers have discovered a genetic anomaly linking type 2 diabetes with sleep disorders.
An international study has found that mutations in the MTNR1B gene, which codes for a receptor for the circadian rhythm regulating hormone, melatonin, are associated with both sleep disorders and altered insulin levels. For carriers, this can bring about an elevation in night-time blood glucose levels that has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The study, undertaken by British, French, Danish and Canadian scientists, looked at over 36,000 subjects from France, Denmark and Finland and lends further support to previously observed correlations between type 2 diabetes and sleep problems.
According to co-author, Professor Philippe Froguel, of the Department of Genomic Medicine at Imperial College, London, “There is already some research to suggest there are links between sleep problems and conditions such as obesity and depression, both of which are associated with diabetes. For example, we know that obese children tend to sleep badly and that people become obese if they are not having enough sleep. Our new study demonstrates that abnormalities in the circadian rhythm may partly be causing diabetes and high blood sugar levels. We hope it will ultimately provide new options for treating people.”
It is also hoped that the findings can be used to inform the development of screening processes for early detection of diabetes.
A widespread and costly affliction, the NHS estimates that around 2.3 million people in the UK are affected by diabetes, with type 2 making up 95 percent of this figure. It is further estimated that 500,000 diabetes sufferers remain undiagnosed.
A recent report, too, claimed that the NHS spends approximately £1 million every hour (around 10 percent of its total budget) on the treatment of diabetes and associated complications.
The study results were published in the journal Nature Genetics, along with two other genome-wide association studies that also support the findings.
sources: Press Association, The Guardian, NHS