WEDNESDAY, 21 November 2018 (HealthDay News) – A test that measures wavelengths of light coming from skin cells can detect…
WEDNESDAY, 21 November 2018 (HealthDay News) – A test that measures wavelengths of light coming from skin cells can detect type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even your risk of dying, shows new research.
It is possible that – one day – a rapid “autofluorescence” light sample on the skin can be used by consumers in “supermarkets, pharmacies or drug stores as an initial estimate of [health] risk”, according to a Dutch research team.
The new device is called AGE Reader, with AGE that stands for chemicals found on skin cells called advanced glycation end products.
Ages are natural byproducts of disease that can – with the help of AGE Reader ̵
1; light or fluoresce “on the skin, explained the researchers led by Bruce Wolffenbuttel at the University of Groningen.
Their new study tested the device on the skin of nearly 73,000 people whose health is then traced up to 10 years with an average follow-up in four years.
During the follow-up period, more than 1,000 participants continued to develop type 2 diabetes, close to 1,300 developed heart disease and 928 killed.
A 1-unit increase of autofluorescence in the skin with AGE Reader “was associated with a triple increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease and a five-fold increased risk of death,” the researchers reported on 21 November in the journal Diabetologia ].
In addition, the power of the unit in predicting death or disease was still stable even when Telltale risk factors – such as obesity, high t blood pressure, high cholesterol or poor blood sugar control – missing, found the study.
Even after adjusting for these risk factors, a 1-unit AGE Reader auto fluorescence score increased was linked to a 26 percent increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes; a 33 percent increase in the risk of heart disease; and a close doubling of the odds of death during the follow-up period.
The reason is that the new findings support skin auto fluorescence “as a first screening method for predicting type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mortality,” researchers said in a press release.
An American diabetes specialist was fascinated by the research.
Dr. Gerald Bernstein leads the Friedman Diabetes Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He was not involved in the new study, but is familiar with “AGE” chemicals as natural indicators of health.
“What is a good example of an age limit that everyone can recognize? On Thanksgiving we put a turkey in the oven with the aim of having a beautiful bird with beautiful browned skin. That broth occurs because of ages in the turbid skin,” noted Bernstein.
He explained that in living people, these proteins “connect to each other and form a web, and this web is an age limit. The formation of AGEs contributes to the complications of diabetes.”
As the ages can gradually increase over time, doctor one day “easily scan entire populations by fluorescent techniques to identify who has AGEs and is therefore in danger zone,” said Bernstein.
A heart specialist agreed. Dr Guy Mintz called the study “impressive” and said that devices like AGE Reader “can be a game replacement in cardiovascular and diabetic risk assessment.” He manages cardiovascular health at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, NY
Mintz said studies where AGE Reader was used on the patient’s skin before and after medical treatments would be interesting “to see if the pattern of skin auto fluorescence changes with medical and lifestyle interventions.”  But Mintz had a reservation: “I do not agree with the author’s [notion] that this technique can be used in non-clinical settings, such as pharmacies, to assess the patient’s risk.” He said that non-doctors could easily misunderstand test results and that can harm, not help patients.
The American Diabetes Association offers more about diabetes.