Letter to the editor: The surge of type 2 diabetes mellitus in China - An international alert: Physical exercise and low-caloric diet may reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes mellitus and dementia

Pai C. Kao, Qiao Jun Han, Shuyi Liu, Xiu Jun Li, Kristin S. Inman, Nicholas D Chia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The prevalence of diabetes in China has surged from 0.67% before 1980 to 11.6% currently. It is even higher than the prevalence in the United States. Certainly, China's economic open-ups, improving living standard, and modernization have propagated the surge. From a traditional public-health point of view, increased food intake and decreased exercise were the main contributors. A new knowledge of colon microbiota could be applied to provide a second harvest of food energy; for example, large molecules of carbohydrates, which are undigested by the stomach and small intestine, produce by-products that the body can absorb in the colon. Colon microbiota can ferment these carbohydrates to the short-chain fatty acid butyrate. This is an energy source that may even cause nonalcoholic fatty liver. How these colon microbiota contribute to the surge of diabetes and whether this new knowledge can be used to control diabetes and metabolic syndrome are questions for future scientific studies. Clinically, however, colon microbiota have had immediate applications; fecal microbiota have been transplanted from healthy persons to treat recurrent Clostridium difficile infection at Mayo Clinic. In addition, a stool biobank of healthy persons was established at Mayo Clinic for future clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-118
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Laboratory Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016



  • Gut microbiota
  • Second energy harvest
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Urban bicycle trips

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Hematology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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