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Colon removal and increased diabetes risk

Study shows people who undergo colectomy have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Health

The large intestine hosts bacteria that help break down food and affect energy consumption and fat accumulation. It also produces hormones that have an impact on blood sugar. Scientists have shown that people whose colon has been removed are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Partially supported by the EU-funded MedBioinformatics project, their study was published in the magazine eLife. The researchers examined the records of over 46 000 patients using a national registry in Denmark to observe how many of them developed diabetes during a period of up to 18 years after surgery. As reported by eLife, “they compared post-surgical diabetes diagnoses in 3,793 people who had their whole large intestine removed, 42,486 who had part of it removed, and 694,110 people who had surgery on another part of the body.” In the article, the scientists said: “In conclusion, we observed an increased risk of clinically recorded type 2 diabetes among patients who had undergone total and partial colectomy with the risk being elevated only among individuals who had the left part of the colon removed.” They added: “The increased risk of diabetes was observed in patients with colorectal cancer as well as in patients with other colorectal diseases.” Blood sugar regulation Quoted in a news item on research news website ‘Futurity’, study co-author Kristine Allin said: “We know that the colon houses large numbers of gut bacteria and hormone-producing cells, but we still do not know which role they play in regulating the blood sugar level.” She added: “We hope our study will facilitate further research into the significance of the colon in blood sugar regulation and diabetes development.” The MedBioinformatics (Creating medically-driven integrative bioinformatics applications focused on oncology, CNS disorders and their comorbidities (MedBioinformatics)) project was launched to analyse the vast quantity “of data and knowledge generated in healthcare and biomedical research in order to facilitate translational research and precision medicine,” as noted on the project website. Completed in 2018, the project focused on oncology and neuropsychiatry with case studies involving the central nervous system (CNS). One of the applications developed by MedBioinformatics is aimed at helping cancer researchers and clinical oncologists identify the mutations of a tumour genome. Another objective was to prepare computational tools to predict the most effective drug combination for specific cancer patients. Project partners also analysed the molecular basis of major depression and alcohol-induced major depression, as well as the comorbidities of major depression and Alzheimer’s disease and cancer and CNS. Comorbidity refers to the simultaneous presence of two or more pathologic conditions or diseases in the same patient. The team also implemented the MedBioinformatics methods and tools to analyse the impact of chronic pharmacologic treatment in cancer-CNS comorbidities. For more information, please see: MedBioinformatics project website

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