The causes of type 1 diabetes are little understood. As the rarer, less predictable and seemingly unavoidable strain of the disease, research is often poured into type 2 diabetes solutions and treatments. According to a new study by Leeds and Newcastle Universities, type 1 diabetes may be triggered by infection.
After analysing a study group of over 4,000 people who had type 1 diabetes diagnosed over a 25-year period in Yorkshire. They were looking for common origins of the disease amongst 10 to 19-year olds. Together with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust the two teams used sophisticated statistical analysis techniques to outline commonalities.
They found that clustering had taken place, patterns known as ‘space-time clustering.’ The results, which are published in Diabetologia, are typical of diseases triggered by infections. An expert from diabetes UK, Simon O’Neill, reportedly said, “this research reinforces the idea that common infections and environmental factors also play a part.”
In the UK, approximately 250,000 people suffer from type 1 diabetes, which is more common amongst younger people and is thought to be caused by environmental factors. Infection as a root could explain many cases, particularly those treated within specific places at specific times.

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