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Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY): A time to act

Gulf countries have one of the highest prevalence of diabetes worldwide. According to the International Diabetes Federation, 14.8% of the adult population in Kuwait is estimated to have diabetes. Kuwait has one of the highest incidences of type 1 diabetes in children worldwide.

As a consequence of overlapping signs and symptoms, it can be expected that some patients who are currently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes might instead have undiagnosed maturityonset diabetes of the young (MODY). Genetic testing is essential for the optimal management of this condition. Many genes associated with MODY have been identified and reported in the literature. Unfortunately, the expertise and experience with challenging and sophisticated technical methods used in genetic testing, such as next-generation sequencing have been largely limited to developed countries. Studies of the prevalence of MODY and the discovery of novel MODY associated gene mutations will depend on an increased awareness of MODY and substantially improved access to next-generation genetic testing. Therefore, DDI has implemented a diagnostic pipeline for MODY within a collaborative project between the Department of Population Health, led by Dr. Hessa Al-kandari, and the Department of Genetics and Bioinformatics, headed by Prof. Fahd Al-Mulla.

Dr. Hessa Al-kandari and the information system department at DDI with the collaboration of the Information Systems Directorate in the Ministry of Health have also employed a nationwide diabetes registry in order to better estimate and understand MODY and other forms of Diabetes in Kuwait.

Owing to the high prevalence of diabetes in Kuwait, coupled with the high proportion of consanguineous marriages, studies in our population would present an excellent opportunity to further improve our understanding of the genetic makeup of MODY.