To find out why some diabetics develop complications and others don’t, researchers are examining 12,000 people in Sweden. All study participants have had diabetes for more than 30 years and 1,600 of that group have lived with the disease for more than 50 years. About 6,000 of the people in the study have not developed any major complications. Even more surprising is the fact that two-thirds of those with diabetes for 50 years or more do not have any major complications.
The PROLONG study is just beginning with a pilot study in Skane, Sweden and will continue later with patients from all hospitals in the country. The researchers will compare the results from these long-term diabetics with those that have developed severe complications despite having the disease less than 15 years.
Researchers say that if they can identify the reasons why some diabetics do not develop severe complications, they can potentially develop medications that can mimic those activities.