01 Oct Physical Activity Less Helpful In Preventing Diabetes For Those At Greatest Genetic Risk
MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation with:
Dr. Yann C Klimentidis, PhD
Assistant professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
University of Arizona Medical Center
Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Klimentidis: The main finding is that the association of physical activity with type-2 diabetes risk is weakest among those who are at high genetic risk for type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, we find that this trend is stronger among women as compared to men, and that it appears to be driven mainly by genetic risk to insulin resistance, as opposed to genetic risk for reduced beta-cell function.
Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?
Dr. Klimentidis: The most surprising aspect of the results was the nature of the discovered interaction, in that genetic susceptibility was not attenuated among those who were more physically active. This contrasts with a widely reported finding that the association of a well-established obesity gene, named FTO, is attenuated among those who are more physically active.
Medical Research: Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Klimentidis: In general, most evidence suggests that physical activity is important for the prevention of cardiovascular and metabolic disease. However, we are starting to understand how our individual genetic profile can play a role in our susceptibility to disease as well as how we respond to specific lifestyle factors. Our current knowledge of the genetics of type-2 diabetes is still very limited, and therefore not ready for clinical use, but we hope that more personalized clinical approaches based on genetic information are on the horizon.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Klimentidis: The most important next step is to determine whether this finding can be replicated in other studies, including among other racial/ethnic groups. Once we are more confident in the finding, it should be possible to examine existing randomized intervention studies and/or design new genetically-informed intervention studies. It is also important to learn more about how these type-2 diabetes genetic variants function at a more detailed physiological level to influence risk.
Klimentidis Y, et al “Association of physical activity with lower type 2 diabetes incidence is weaker among individuals at high genetic risk” Diabetologia 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s00125-014-3380-z.