Predicting Diabetes Onset 19 years In advance 20 May 2022 Type 2 diabetes could be predicted up to 19 years in advance, claim researchers at Lund University in Sweden. The researchers identified high levels of a particular protein in the blood, called follistatin, as a predictor of a person’s likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes (regardless of other risk factors). “This study shows that follistatin has the potential to become an important biomarker to predict future type 2 diabetes, and it also brings us one step closer to the understanding of the mechanisms behind the disease,” said Dr. Yang De Marinis, associate professor at Lund University and lead author of the study. Follistatin helps break down body fat, which in turn increases fat build-up in the liver that can lead to fatty liver and type 2 diabetes. Since follistatin levels fluctuate according to food consumption and activity levels, Dr. Yang De Marinis emphasises the usual advice for preventing diabetes: “Balanced meals, eat[ing] healthy and regular exercise.” Next, the team are looking to develop a diagnostic tool using artificial intelligence that could assess a person’s blood and determine a ‘risk score’ for diabetes based on follistatin (and other biomarker) levels. The full findings of this follistatin study can be accessed here. Key Messages Researchers in Sweden discover that type 2 diabetes could be predicted up to 19 years in advance (regardless of age, weight, or activity levels) by measuring levels of a blood protein called follistatin.Follistatin helps break down body fat, which in turn increases fat build-up in the liver that can lead to fatty liver and type 2 diabetes. Follistatin levels fluctuate according to food consumption and activity levels, so it is suggested to follow healthy eating and exercise recommendations to prevent diabetes onset.Next, researchers are hoping to develop an AI-generated diagnostic tool using follistatin levels as a measurement for diabetes susceptibility.