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LEADR Identifies Novel Risk Factors That Impact Development of Diabetes

July 6, 2021

Westat researchers are among the coauthors of 2 recently published articles highlighting findings from the Longitudinal Epidemiologic Assessment of Diabetes Risk (LEADR). Supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in collaboration with the DARTNet Institute, the LEADR study examined electronic health records (EHRs) of 1.4 million+ patients and better understand how type 2 diabetes develops.

HbA1c Evidence for a Prediabetes Diagnosis Delays Onset of Type 2 Diabetes. Westat’s Maurice Johnson, Jr., M.P.H., Rebecca Birch, M.P.H., Russ Mardon, Ph.D., and others found that designating a prediabetes diagnosis to patients delayed their progression to type 2 diabetes. The study noted that while increasing levels of hemoglobin A1c was the primary predictor of diabetes, patients diagnosed with prediabetes, compared to undiagnosed patients, developed diabetes at slower rates.

Latent Class Trajectory Analysis of Risk Factors Uncovers Progression to Type 2 Diabetes. The research team, which included Westat’s Mr. Johnson, Ms. Birch, Mr. Mardon, as well as Xiaoshu Zhu, Sunitha Mathew, M.S., Holly L. Sawyer, Lori S. Merrill, M.S., Keith D. Umbel, and Sophia Jang, M.S., analyzed 8 years of EHR data to identify patterns for body mass index (BMI), blood pressures, and lipids. The study found that those who increased their BMI by 25% within 2 years and maintained the higher weight were significantly at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The research team concluded that monitoring BMI, along with other patterns of change, may serve as valuable tools for identifying risk of type 2 diabetes. 

The LEADR team will continue to build upon the findings from these studies and provide further insight for diabetes research.

Learn more:

Healthcare article: The Longitudinal Epidemiologic Assessment of Diabetes Risk (LEADR): Unique 1.4 M Patient Electronic Health Record Cohort

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