Illnesses don’t like being pigeonholed.

Diabetes is a perfect example. The vast majority of people with this life-threatening disease have either genetically initiated type 1, in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, or type 2, in which the insulin produced cannot sufficiently clear the blood of its high levels of glucose or sugar. Type 2 is far more common, as lifestyle – too much food, too little exercise – often plays a major role in causing hormone-related changes.

However, some people have other types of diabetes that don’t follow normal symptoms. Type 2, yes, but not overweight, nor do they come from a family with diabetes, for example.

Without the correct diagnosis, the patient’s disease may react differently than expected.

To help those in this diagnostic twilight zone, the NIDDK, the NIH’s Department of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Research, is launching a new study on these so-called atypical types of diabetes. Working with 20 research institutes across the country, from Seattle to New York City and Michigan to Florida, the NIDDK is looking for 2,000 people with diabetes who have been diagnosed with either an atypical type or a form that doesn’t Type 1 or Type 2 fit.

You will be asked to fill out questionnaires, collect physical data, and submit a blood sample for a genetic picture. Maybe more tests. All of this information is about ensuring that researchers have a broad and detailed collection of genetic, clinical, and descriptive information.

“This information could help establish new diagnostic criteria for diabetes, find new markers for screening, or identify drug targets for new therapies that could ultimately bring precision medicine to diabetes,” said study director Jeffrey Krischer, MD of the University of South Florida in Tampa in a press release.

The new study, called RADIANT, has its own website. Further information can be found at https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-funds-first-nationwide-network-study-rare-forms-diabetes.

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