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Thursday 20th October 2016

Child diabetes triggered by virus

6th March 2009

Researchers believe a common virus may be the trigger for the development of many cases of diabetes, particularly in children.


In findings published in Diabetologia, the UK scientists says signs of enteroviruses were found in pancreatic tissue from 60% of children with type 1 diabetes, but in hardly any children without the disease.

They also found that 40% of adults with type 2 diabetes had signs of the infection in insulin-producing cells.

While genetics play a role in the risk of diabetes, the prospect of a viral cause has been considered for some time.

The latest findings come from 25 years of tissue samples from children across the UK who had died less than a year after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Scientists from the Peninsula Medical School and the University of Brighton used the evidence to look for evidence of the enteroviruses in tissue samples routinely taken during autopsy in 72 children and compare that with samples from 50 children without the condition.

Professor Noel Morgan from the Peninsula Medical School said: "The next stages of research - to identify which enteroviruses are involved, how the beta-cells are changed by infection and the ultimate goal to develop an effective vaccine - will lead to findings which we hope will drastically reduce the number of people around the world who develop type 1 diabetes, and potentially type 2 diabetes as well."

Diabetes UK said the study was a big step forward in understanding the potential triggers for the disease. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation funded the research.


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