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Re: [IP] Causes of Diabetes

> Paula, the same virus that causes chicken pox is responsible for shingles.
> Some viral infections are associated with diabetes, but there is no
> definitive cause and effect.  Many viral infections lead to an increase in
> immune cells known as Th1 types (helper T cells of type 1).  This
> differentiation comes at the expense of Th2 cells, immune cells that are
> responsible for allergic responses.  This is one reason why the incidence
> of ashtma is so low in diabetics.  Prior to my diabetic onset I had lots of
> boils on my legs, something which was not uncommon.  Likely due to some
> virus that then souped up my Th1 cells to go a search and destroy mission.
> Too bad they found those Beta cells.
> - -wm


I don't dispute that the malfuction of T-cells usually immediately
precedes the onset of diabetes, but you overlook a major twist in the
story. I thought the latest thinking was that it is the LACK of disease
in our communities that is responsible for the dramatic increase in the
modern world of auto-immune diseases like diabetes, asthma, excema etc.

Our ancestors were exposed all the time to life-threatening viruses,
bacteria and parasites. The body's immune system was "honed" by this
constant exposure to effectively fight them off. We now live in a
sanitised world where so many diseases have been removed from our
environment that the immune system, developed over millions of
generations to fight off disease, now malfunctions because its expected
enemy no longer exists.

That's why it's a disease of the modern world. Sure, our forefathers got
diabetes and died, but their brothers and sisters who had the same
genetic material didn't, and bred successfully. Why? Probably becasue it
conferred some other advantage. Perhaps the extra potent immune system
allowed them to fight off other unusual and virulent diseases, which
wiped out those who did not have a propensity to diabetes.

Is there any evidence, I wonder, that siblings of diabetics are less
prone to die of black death, small-pox or AIDS for example?

I don't view any preceding disease as having caused my diabetes (it was
bad flu in my case. I then slowly descended into diabetes over the next
4 months), but rather that I was born with a mixed blessing: namely that
I had an immune system that gave me some unspecified advantage in the
game of life, but with the risk it might give me diabetes as well. I
lost the bet!

On balance, it may well be that the health damage caused by the increase
diabetes (how ever you choose to measure it) is far less than the damage
caused by all the terrible diseases that afflicted our ancestors. So
modern healthcare has done some good after all (although the greatest
benefit to our health and life expectancy has been the result of the
efforts of sanitary engineers, rather than doctors!)

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