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E. The Promise and Challenge of Predicting Diabetes

Narrator: This is Science Today. Right now people who suffer from diabetes can only hope to manage the disease by regulating their insulin levels. But a new drug developed by Jeffrey Bluestone of the University of California, San Francisco, has shown promise in treating patients who are still in the early stages of Type 1 diabetes. Bluestone says the implications of the drug go beyond its immediate impact.

Bluestone: We can intervene in this disease early on, and if we can identify individuals who are at high risk of getting the disease then we could maybe even intervene before they become diabetic which is of course what we'd all like.

Narrator: But identifying those susceptible to diabetes is difficult. Scientists know that obesity is a big factor in Type 2 diabetes, but diet alone is not the answer.

Bluestone: Since both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are increasing significantly in numbers, there must be more to it. Whether it's a genetic component in our population and our breeding, or whether it's some environmental aspect of virus infections or something like that, nobody knows.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.