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Re: [IP] Cause of diabetes/cancer?
> John, we can argue teleology all day long and never agree, since in the
> end, it is all conjecture.
I would love to discuss teleology all day long, but you'll have to tell
me what it is first! I'm away from home at present and clean forgot my
dictionary. Just my laptop and modem... (Surely it's not the study of
soap opera plots...)
> However, diabetes has been around in all of
> recorded human history. There does not seem to be any survival advantage
> in being diabetic.
Then this is a contradiction. There is an inherited factor in IDDM. If
that's the result of a recent mutation that is evolutionarily bad news,
than it would have died out fairly quickly. But IDDM is present in all
races around the world, and it's inherited, so it MUST confer some
evolutionary advantage somewhere, even if it's not on those who actually
> The increase in numbers of diabetics around today is
> only because we are living longer.
Not true. We're talking about insulin dependent diabetes. A recently
published paper (BMJ 1997 Sep 20;315(7110):713-717) showed that in the
Oxford region of England, the number of under 5's getting IDDM rose by
11% per year for the last 11 years. That's a 3-fold increase. Whether
these are children who would have got it in 20's and 30's instead, and
are now getting it earlier, is not clear, but the suggestion is that
that's not the case. In the 5-9 age group, it rose by 4% per year, and
in the 10-14 by 1% per year. Something's causing this, and they don't
You can access the article at http://www4.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/ Do a
search on Gale EA. My endo was one of the co-authors.
> 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.
We're not talking gene change. A proportion of the population has a
susceptibility, and more and more of this group are having the diabetes
"switched on" by the various and usually unknown factors.
> 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.
A months ago in The Economist I read an article about some immune system
research by Antonio Freitas, an immunologist at the Pasteur Institute in
Paris. The full article's at my website
(http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/Strasse/5726/freitas.html) It suggests
that your traditional view may be incorrect. The number of disease
fighting lymphocytes appears to remain constant, even as the number of
different antigens they have fought decreases. So the fewer antigens
your immune system has been exposed to, the more opportunity for islet
cell attacking clones to gain the upper hand, and cause diabetes.
Perhaps you're best to discuss this with the author of the research! ;-)
> (by the way, asthma is not
> an autoimmune disease).
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