Viruses can trigger diabetes


An interesting new finding indicates that infection with enteroviruses may be the trigger that sets off a response leading to development of diabetes. Though most of this applies to childhood diabetes, they have also found a link to adult-onset diabetes. They plan to further study the connection, determining which viruses are involved, how it attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and hopefully, formulate a vaccine that can prevent this disease in those who are predisposed.

There is a genetic predisposition to developing diabetes, but there are environmental factors as well. However, these environmental factors have not been well-defined, except for obesity, until now. It was discovered after 25 years of research by a pathologist who examined pancreatic tissue from children who died after a year of developing diabetes as well as some adults. He compared it to tissue from unaffected children and found that most of the children with diabetics had been infected with enteroviruses.

There are 100 different strains of enteroviruses so it will take time to find which ones are the real culprits before a vaccine can be produced. Enteroviruses cause gastrointestinal complaints such as vomiting and diarrhea, and are very common.

It is good news for diabetics. It seems we may be on the road to a cure, at least for some.

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