Health

BHS teen conducts diabetes research

  • Carika Weldon, a Bermudian scientist, now a university lecturer in the UK (Photograph supplied)
  • Student scientist Kameron Young (Photograph supplied)

A teenaged schoolgirl who carried out research into the genetic reasons for “a sweet tooth” has expanded her study to include more men and people with Type 2 diabetes.

Kameron Young, 17 and in her final year of the International Baccalaureate Diploma at Bermuda High School, said she wanted to enlarge her research to include 500 people.

A total of 100 participants took part in her first study last year.

Kameron said: “Our original study consisted more of females than male participants.

“This equated to 80 per cent female participants compared to 20 per cent males. There were also fewer participants who had Type 2 diabetes.”

Kameron, who said she wanted to qualify as a surgeon, said there were also fewer participants aged 16 to 45, or aged 56 and over, in her original work.

She added she hoped half of the new group of 500 would be men.

Kameron will work with Dr Carika Weldon, a Bermudian scientist at Oxford University in the UK, to look at how the a specific gene, TAS2R38, affected people’s preference for sugar.

Kameron is believed to be the first Bermudian high school pupil to conduct research on such a scale.

Dr Weldon said: “We as a community have a shared concern over diabetes and have realised it is an issue.

“To tackle this problem, it’s essential that we look at it from every angle.”

She added: “Not only is this study timely, with the implementation of the Sugar Tax late last year, but the boldness of Kameron to try and tackle this as a high school student is inspiring and has already jolted the next generation of young scientists.”

Kameron started her research last year for her biology internal assessment, but it has grown beyond her school assignment.

The complete findings of the original study will be revealed at a science conference organised by The Bermuda Principles Foundation Fund from February 20 to 23 at the Fairmont Southampton hotel.

The four-day conference will see about 100 international scientists fly to Bermuda to outline their research on diseases including cancer and diabetes.

The conference will be open from 10.45am to 5pm every day.

Dr Weldon and Kameron will highlight their findings at 11am on the final day, which will be open to the public.

Kameron said: “I am honoured to be working alongside Dr Weldon.

“This is an exciting opportunity as my knowledge of scientific research has grown tremendously over the past two years.

She admitted: “I am also nervous, but I am looking forward to participating on this international stage with my mentor.”

Members of the public can contribute to the study by giving a cheek swab today, tomorrow and on February 16, from 10am to 6pm at Planet Math on Hamilton’s Park Road.

Appointments can be booked at http://bit.ly/BookKameronsLab.

The research team also wants to visit businesses from Mondays to Thursdays to take swabs.

Companies interested in taking part should e-mail kamerons.lab@gmail.com.