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Onset of diabetes linked to flu virus

The flu virus may trigger diabetes, says a report in New Scientist. This discovery may provide a way to prevent some forms of the disease. In diabetes, cells do not take up sugar from the blood. This can happen because cells have lost sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which leads to type 2 diabetes. Often linked to diet and lifestyle, this form of the disease is rapidly becoming more common worldwide. A cause of Type 1 diabetes is the immune system destroying the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. People inherit a genetic predisposition for type 1 diabetes, but an environmental trigger is also needed for it to appear.

Since the 1970s, researchers have suspected that viruses may provide this trigger, as type 1 diabetes often sets in suddenly after an infection. Enteroviruses and rotaviruses were both implicated; something about these infections confuses the immune system enough to make it attack the pancreas. But the picture remains unclear.

See the full story here: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22456


Published in Diabetes research
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