In a groundbreaking study led by Iva Miljkovic, MD, PhD, researchers found that patients whose parents live into their 90s have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes than the general population. Find out why.
In a new study published in Frontiers in Clinical Diabetes and Healthcare, Iva Miljkovic, MD, PhD conducted research that suggests that adults whose parents live into their 90's have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The multicenter cohort from The Long Life Family Study (LLFS) looked at 582 two-generation families in which one parent lived to age 90 years or beyond. Miljkovic wrote that this finding, "suggests that offspring of exceptionally long-lived individuals and their spouses, especially at middle-age, may share a similar, low risk for developing type 2 diabetes compared with the general population." This emerging research suggests that there may be a genetic component to preventing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers followed 583 two-generation families from four centers ― in Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, and Odense, Denmark ― and the LLFS included 4,559 participants aged 90 or older at enrollment between 2006 and 2009, 1,445 of their siblings aged 80 and above, 2,329 children of the 90+ group, and 785 of their spouses through 2017. An in-home follow-up examination was conducted during 2014–2017. The results included the following:
- Among 1585 offspring and 495 spouses who did not have diabetes at study entry, 3.7% of the offspring and 3.8% of their spouses developed type 2 diabetes over the follow-up period
- The annual incidence per 1000 person-years was 4.6 cases for the offspring and 4.7 for their spouses overall
Diabetes risk can differ among offspring, and the odds of developing type 2 diabetes increased per standard deviation with baseline body mass index.
Similar associations were seen among the spouses of our participants, except that there was no significant association with sex hormone–binding globulin, and two additional factors increased the type 2 diabetes risk: circulating interleukin 6 and insulinlike growth factor 1.
Lifestyle factors such as alcohol intake and physical activity were not associated with type 2 diabetes risk in either the offspring or the spouses but according to Miljkovic, genetic, epigenetic, and shared environmental factors have impacted these results in patients. But the results also indicated that the spouses were more likely to be physically active and to report moderate alcohol consumption than were the offspring. Both of these lifestyle factors may reduce type 2 diabetes risk.