Connection Made Between High Mole Count and Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

People with many common moles may never be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but according to a new study these individuals are at higher risk for the illness.

Common moles, or melanocytic nevus, are small skin lesions made up of melanocytes. A melanocyte produces melanin, the pigment that colors our skin. Most of these melanocytic lesions develop before the age of 30.

Now research, conducted at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University, suggests the onset of type 2 diabetes and nevogenesis - the development of moles - share an underlying process.

“Our results indicate a potential common mechanism...although further studies are warranted to confirm our findings and clarify the underlying mechanism,” said Dr. Yiqing Song, Indiana University associate professor.

The research data came from the files of 26,000 males in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study started in 1988, and from 67,050 females in a 1986 Nurses’ Health Study. The lifestyle habits and medical histories of these men and women were noted, and the number of common moles each had on their left arm - between wrist and shoulder - were recorded.

Analysis of the data revealed there were just above 9,000 study participants in both genders with type 2 diabetes, and those with higher mole counts were more likely to have been diagnosed with the condition. This remained true even after factoring in variables such as smoking, alcohol intake, BMI, exercise, multivitamin use, and family diabetes history.

The investigators’ findings were published in the online journal Diabetic Medicine.

“To our knowledge, the present study is the first to prospectively examine the association of melanocytic nevus count with type 2 diabetes risk,” wrote the researchers. “Our findings suggest that mole count could be a novel marker for development of type 2 diabetes, indicating a unique nevus development-related mechanism.”

Sources: Diabetes UK; Medical News Today

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