Using EMRs to Analyze Diabetes Subtypes

There are many varieties of type 2 diabetes, a new genotype analysis shows. Tracking these genotype variations in common diseases is possible using data from electronic medical records (EMRs), according to researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

There are many varieties of type 2 diabetes, a new genotype analysis shows.

Tracking these genotype variations in diabetes and other common diseases is possible using data from electronic medical records (EMRs), according to researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

In a paper published in Science Translational Medicine, Joel Dudley, PhD, the school's director of biomedical informatics, and colleagues report on using genotype data for more than 11,000 patients with type 2 diabetes. They grouped these patients into three distinct subtypes based on information in the patients' EMRs. These subtypes were associated with different clinical characteristics. For instance, in subtype 1, patients were more likely to have diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy. Subtype 2 was associated with more cancer and cardiovascular disease. Subtype 3 patients were more likely to have neurological disease, allergies, and HIV infections.

They then did genotypic analyses.For each subtype the researchers discovered unique genetic variants in hundreds of genes.

The use of this data shows the potential of precision medicine, Dudley said.

"It is absolutely encouraging that we were able to paint a much higher-resolution understanding for a common and complex disease that has long stymied the biomedical community with its heterogeneity," he said.

Identifying these unique genetic components will provide new pathways to treat patients, the team said..