Health Watch - Diabetes: Pancreatic Fat

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Diabetes can be a life-altering – and even life-threatening – disease. This week on Health Watch, we’ll look into some recent research on diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, in part due to the obesity epidemic. But not all obese people develop diabetes. How can doctors tell which people are most at risk?

Doctors believe that overweight people have larger deposits of fat in the pancreas, but it’s difficult to tell because of the location of the pancreas. Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a way to measure pancreatic fat using a scanning technology similar to magnetic resonance imaging. The study found that overweight people had more pancreatic fat, and the people who had been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes had higher levels of pancreatic fat.

Dr. Ildiko Lingvay, the UT Southwestern researcher who led the study, says these results are preliminary, but the technique shows promise for determining diabetes risk.

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May 2010


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