04 Apr Melatonin Secretion and the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes
MedicalResearch.com Interview with Dr. Ciaran McMullan MD
from Channing Division of Network Medicine in Boston, a research division within the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Mass
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. McMullan: In this observational study performed in non-diabetic women we found that lower nocturnal melatonin secretion predicted future risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When we categorized the individuals by category of nocturnal melatonin secretion we found that those in the lowest category had twice the risk as those in the highest category of nocturnal melatonin secretion. This association remained even after adjusting for other well established risk factors for development of diabetes including body mass index, physical activity, dietary factors, family history of diabetes, smoking and hypertension. This increased risk translates into the lower melatonin secretion group having an additional 5 cases of incident diabetes per 1000 person years than the high melatonin secretion group.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. McMullan: We had expected to see an association, but we felt that it may have been reduced following adjustment for established risk factors for diabetes. What surprised us was the magnitude of the association and also that appears to be independent of other known diabetes risk factors, with the odds ratio between the high and low melatonin secretion groups virtually unchanged following adjustment with known diabetes risk factors.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. McMullan: Our study was an observational study and there was no intervention performed. We therefore cannot interpret the findings to make treatment recommendations. However the study does provide us with an interesting finding that lower levels of nocturnal melatonin secretion associate with higher risk of development of type 2 diabetes and this prompts us to ask an important question, if we change an individual’s melatonin secretion do we also change their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. McMullan: Randomized controlled trials are required to test whether giving melatonin supplements to at risk people can modify their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Melatonin Secretion and the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes
Ciaran J. McMullan, MD; Eva S. Schernhammer, MD, DrPH; Eric B. Rimm, ScD; Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD; John P. Forman, MD, MSc
JAMA. 2013;309(13):1388-1396. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.2710.