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Gut microbes again linked to diabetes -- but geography matters

Particular combinations of bacteria in the human digestive system can identify patients who have or are likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, scientists reported Wednesday in the online edition of the journal Nature.

But the precise combinations of microbes that influence development of the disease may vary among patients of different ages, sexes and ethnicities, the Swedish and Danish researchers said ā€” which means that more study will be needed to use bacteria to diagnose diabetes in people everywhere.

The Scandinavian team, including senior author Fredrik Backhed of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, collected bacterial DNA from fecal samples from 145 70-year-old women. Their sample was divided into three similarly sized groups: 53 women who had Type 2 diabetes, 49 with impaired glucose tolerance (a precursor to full-blown diabetes) and 43 who were healthy.

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