Type 1 diabetes in children linked with viral infection

Fri, 04 Feb 2011
Research by scientists at the University of New South Wales and the Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes in Sydney have confirmed a link between diabetes and a viral infection .

Although the findings do not prove the virus actually causes diabetes, it was shown that children with type 1 diabetes were nearly 10 times as likely to also have a viral infection than children who are healthy. Diabetes in childhood has previously been associated with enteroviruses, which can bring on colds, the flu and sometimes meningitis .

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, reviewed 26 existing studies involving 4,448 patients. It found "The association between enterovirus infection, detected with molecular methods, and diabetes was strong, with almost 10 times the odds of enterovirus infection in children at diagnosis of type 1 diabetes ."

However, Diabetes UK commented that further research was necessary to pinpoint the cause of type 1 diabetes.

Iain Frame, director of research at the charity, said "Many factors have been reported as being associated with Type 1 diabetes but that is not the same as causing type 1 diabetes and this report based on looking at a number of previous studies does not bring us much closer to pinpointing the causes of type 1 diabetes."

He added "We do, however, welcome any new analysis that brings about a better understanding of the involvement of certain viruses on the insulin -producing cells in the pancreas ."
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