Advanced prediction for personal risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Now for ten years in advance instead of previously for five

13-Oct-2022 - Germany

The DIfE ─ German diabetes Risk Test® (DRT) developed by the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) has so far made it possible to predict an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the following five years. Scientists from DIfE and the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) have now extended the prediction period to ten years, validated it in two independent study populations, and adapted the DRT accordingly.


According to the German Diabetes Association, more than eight million people in Germany live with type 2 diabetes. The number of unreported cases is at least two million. In order to be able to identify people at high risk of developing the disease at an early stage, DIfE scientists developed the DIfE ─ DEUTSCHER-DIABETES-RISIKO-TEST® (DRT) in 2007, which can be used outside clinical practice.

As a questionnaire or online test, the DRT offers adults between the ages of 18 and 79 the opportunity to determine their individual risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next five years non-invasively and free of charge at home. The longer follow-up period now available from the underlying EPIC-Potsdam study has now allowed the revision of the DRT to predict 10-year risk. "The extension of the prediction period enables even longer-term individual prediction of risk for type 2 diabetes," said Dr. Catarina Schiborn, first author and research associate in the Department of Molecular Epidemiology at DIfE. "In this way, people at increased risk can be educated at an early stage and informed about ways to reduce their risk and make lifestyle changes."

Lifestyle has a direct influence on disease risk

For the further development of the prediction model, the scientists* drew on the health and lifestyle data of around 25,000 participants in the EPIC-Potsdam study. The statistical modeling included parameters that are relevant for the prediction of type 2 diabetes. These include immutable factors, such as age, gender, and family history of type 2 diabetes, and modifiable factors, such as waist circumference, smoking behavior, hypertension, and physical activity. In addition, the model takes into account dietary habits, such as consumption of whole grains and red meat.

Among the participants in the study, 1367 people were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within ten years of their initial screening. For a large proportion of those affected, the 10-year DRT was correct in its prediction. "In EPIC-Potsdam, the test predicted a higher risk with a probability of 83.4 percent for future sufferers than for future non-sufferers," explains Schiborn. The very good predictive quality could be confirmed in two independent samples - the population-based observational study EPIC-Heidelberg and in a sample representative for Germany, the BGS98 cohort. "This underpinned the validity of the test for the German population," says Schiborn.

Broad range of applications thanks to different test variants

The extension of the risk prediction to ten years enables the updating of the previous DRT versions: the online test, the questionnaire self-test and the patient questionnaire for medical professionals, in which the diabetes risk can be specified together with the long-term blood glucose value (HbA1c value).

"The 10-year DRT offers a wide range of applications and can be used in everyday clinical practice during screening examinations, as well as at home when clinical parameters are not available," says Prof. Matthias Schulze, head of the Department of Molecular Epidemiology at DIfE. In addition, the updated DRT, like its predecessor, can be used in educational campaigns and population-wide screening procedures.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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