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New diabetes score to help identify high-risk patients

A simple new score for predicting the risk of type 2 diabetes could be used to identify people at high risk and proactively intervene before they develop the disease, concludes a large study published on today.

The score uses information that is available in electronic health records, or which patients themselves would be likely to know, and does not require laboratory tests, so can be used in routine clinical practice, by national screening programmes, and also by the public (

The researchers found large variations in the risk of type 2 diabetes between different ethnic groups. Bangladeshi men and women were four times more likely to develop diabetes than white men and women, while Pakistani men and women were twice as likely to develop diabetes than white men and women.

They also found a marked difference in rates of type 2 diabetes by social deprivation, with women in the most deprived fifth more than twice as likely to develop diabetes than compared with the most affluent fifth. A similar, but less steep gradient was seen for men.

The team then tested the performance of the QDScore by comparing the predicted risk and the observed risk at 10 years in a further 1.2 million patients from a separate sample of practices. This showed the score to be highly accurate.

The QDScore also performed well when compared with another diabetes risk algorithm, known as the Cambridge risk score.

The QDScore appears highly accurate and practical, and could be used to identify patients with an increased risk of diabetes, which might lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention, say doctors from the University of Dresden in an accompanying editorial.