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Study to Identify Cause of Type 1 Diabetes


15 February 2006

Study to Identify Cause of Type 1 Diabetes

United States. The Medical College of Georgia is among numerous sites chosen by the National Institutes of Health to examine the environmental risk factors that may lead to the cause of Type 1 diabetes. The primary study, called TEDDY - The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young, will investigate the environmental triggers of T1 diabetes which turn the body’s immune system on the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Last October, study sites began a four-year process to screen 220,800 healthy babies for genes that put them at risk for type 1 diabetes. They expect to identify the genes in about 13,000 babies, about half of whom will embark with their families on a 15-year journey that may help cure the disease.

Dr. Jin Xiong She, Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicne at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) initiated the conversation with other scientists years ago before making applications to the NIH for such a study. Now MCG is the lead site for seven hospitals including University Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital in Augusta; Northside Hospital in Atlanta; and three hospitals in Gainesville, Fla. The other lead sites include Barbara Davis Center at the University of Colorado; Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle; the University of Turku in Finland; Lund University in Sweden; and the Diabetes Research Institute in Munich, Germany.

TEDDY will follow children through the two age peaks for type 1 diabetes-- 2-4 and 12-15 and researchers will analyze everything from drinking water to nail clippings. The extensive data will be examined collectively and sorted taking regional variables into account.


Anonymous Wilson said...

As someone who blames a tuna mayonnaise sandwich for their development of T1 (food poisoning you see). I am pretty unconvinced about environmental factors as a trigger factor for T1. Unless of course this might inlude viruses etc which would seem to me to be a more promising lead.
Have a great weekend everybody.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Actually, it's caused by a Roy Roger's (now Arby's) roast beef sandwich! (the last meal I remember before going into a hyperglycemic coma 3 days later.)

Seriously, there are a couple of studies that strongly implicate the coxsackie strain of viruses as triggering the auto-immune reaction that destroys islet cells. I find it interesting that my mother had polio when she was very young (pre-vaccine days) and that polio is also caused by the coxsackie family of viruses.

I am not an 'anti-vaccine' person, but I do wonder if there's something in the polio vaccine that triggers a delayed auto-immune response in genetically susceptible individuals.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Sandra Miller said...

Interesting... I'll be anxious to see what they are able to discover.

With my son, it's hard not to feel that an illness was the trigger-- he was diagnosed with strep throat (though the initial culture came negative, he had a high fever and a ton of junk at the back of his throat) just a few weeks before becoming symptomatic.

And exactly a month later he was diagnosed Type 1.

I can't help but feel there was a connection.

5:28 AM  
Blogger KSC said...

I have always been fascinated with this idea. I grew up near an area with so many possible variables (one of which I know was dioxin) that I wouldn't be surprised if a environmental "cocktail" was implicated - virus, plus reduced (or, rather, boosted) immunity due to environmental factors. My younger brother and I are both type 1 (I was diagnosed at 16, he at 7) and we both got it after and awful attack of the chicken pox.

2:29 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Someone should do put a survey together of all these ideas, a common element may be noticed. I became type 1 at 8yrs old. I had the chicken pox (sometime before). I didn't drink milk much as my mother was lactose intolerant. I drank OJ instead. Maybe the lack of calcium did it? Maybe the Vitamin C jacked up my immune system? Maybe the chicken pox and these others combined? Anyone else?

9:01 PM  

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