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[IP] Re: Cause of diabetes/cancer?
John, we can argue teleology all day long and never agree, since in the
end, it is all conjecture. However, diabetes has been around in all of
recorded human history. There does not seem to be any survival advantage
in being diabetic. The increase in numbers of diabetics around today is
only because we are living longer. Before 1920 every diabetic died pretty
quickly. And even if our "sanitized" world has made some difference, it
would not change our genes that quickly. Furthermore, much of the world
's population still does not live in the kind of sanitize world that we do,
and the incidence of diabetes is not much different. In populations where
the incidence does vary, the cause is largely genetic.
I think you are vivifying our immune system too much. It is not
like a big monster that needs to fight to live. It is highly specialized
in recognizing foreign proteins. If there are none then it is quite happy
just to sleep. Just because it used to fight more bugs doesnt' mean that
now it has to kill the host. I don't know of any epidemiologic evidence
that auto immune diseases are on the increase. (by the way, asthma is not
an autoimmune disease).
(Kasey) Related to Kaseys' question about diabetes and cancer, there is
also no evidence that diabetics are more prone to cancer. I always
imagined it would be the opposite, since a strong immune system might more
easily recognize and target cancer cells. I'm not sure Kasey why you
think that diabetics have a weak immune system. Just the opposite.
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.
Department of Environmental Health Sciences
The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health
615 N. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21205
Tel. 410 614 5446
Fax 410 955 0299
Insulin-Pumpers website http://www.bizsystems.com/Diabetes/
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