Friday, November 07, 2008

Calculating diabetes risk by observing environmental behaviors

Diabetes type II is a disease inherited from parents and passed on through genes to their offspring. Genes can be influenced by an organism's relationship to its environment. In an article from Science Daily scientists are considering the effects of mice interactions within their environment when trying to determine the risk of catching a disease like diabetes. The authors of this study looked at glucose tolerance in order to determine diabetes risk in two different species of mice that are closely related but behave and live very differently. One of the things observed by these researchers was that just handling the mice to perform the experiment resulted in significant blood sugar level changes. The study indicates that calmer male mice have higher levels of stress hormones and maintain their blood sugar levels a lot better than less calm male mice and females of both species. The scientists were also able to show that genetic variation of the Y chromosome was responsible for a specific response to stress of the observed male mice. How well mice are able to handle stress and regulate blood sugar levels could also help determine whether a mouse will be monogamous or not. This conclusion was reached by the UC Irvine scientists.

This study helps to illustrate the importance of considering an organism’s relationship to its environment as well as its behaviors when attempting to understand disease risk.

Allan Eldridge (8)


At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. So could it be correlated that higher anxiety, or the less calm someone is, the more chance that diabetes will be expressed, in the case that they have it in their genes? It's intriquing to think that the environment could have such an affect on a disease. I wonder what other factors play a part in the development of Diabetes type II, because a persons degree of calmness is also dependent on genes. Did they say how they could determine whether a mouse with be monogamous or not? If they can't handle it well, would that lead them to be not monogamous, or vise versa?

Katie Cole

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting article, it would make sense that diabetes is realted to stress. we know that stress has other harmful side effects. Though i wouldnt have geussed that it was becase of stress level being connected to blood sugar levels, does this have to do with adreniline? Also its interesting to see that it would be conneedted to genetics.

Erica Damon

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a bit of experience with diabetes- especially type II. Although I found both the article and the post very interesting, there are two main things that I disagree on. The first is the stress hormones: it would make sense that calmer mice would have lower levels of stress hormones- why is it the other way around?
The second is the genetic factor. From my experience, type II diabetes is not inherited from one's parents. From my experience, the main cause for type II diabetes is a long unhealthy lifestyle. Type II diabetes is caused (very generally speaking) by an insulin tolerance developed by one's cells. Although one can be genetically more or less predisposed to develop a tolerance, the lifestyle and choice of diet have a more important role in an individuals' likelihood to develop type II diabetes.

Noam Pelleg

At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the relationship with the environment? Is it the lab setting that significantly changed a mouse's heart rate, or being handled regularly? Are the mice that are stressed out more easily more likely to develop diabetes?

Amy Kawazoe

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting find. What were some of the triggers in their environment that would have cause the stress present in the mice?

- Debbie Theodat

At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Jen Kodela said...

Did they look at any other levels besides blood glucose? Is that a direct or indirect stress marker? I know they compared each population to the other but did they look at possible differences between males and females of the same species?

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have done research on diabetes for junior writing class. For humans, diabetes partially had to do with genes and inheritance. There is a gene called ENPP1 gene, which causes malfunction of glucose level control system. Why don't you look more into the relationship within its genes too?

-Yi, Jeongsang

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did the researchers look into any other factors that would contribute to diabetes? What were the differences between the two species behavior?

-Cecelia Hunt

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attempted to access the original article and could not do it.
As the article from SD indicates, "the risk of developing type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome is determined by an an individual's genetic background." I could have worded my opening statement a little bit differently to avoid some confusion. As was commented, the environment and a person's habits have an influence on our lives, in this case acquiring a disease. This is what I got out of the article and what me made think this was an appropriate article for our class blog. Even though a thing may have a genetic basis the environment and how we interact with the environment (habits/behaviors) play an important role in our general health.
Thanks for all the comments.


Allan Eldridge


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