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Cleanliness Linked to Diabetes

Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cleanliness is next to Godliness but being too clean could raise your risk of getting diabetes, a new study has suggested. Researchers have carried out the study and found that a lack of exposure to bacteria and viruses during childhood may lead to an increased chance of high blood sugar and related diseases.
 
Children who are brought up in extremely clean houses could be at greater risk of developing diabetes later in life, scientists have warned.

They say a lack of exposure to bacteria and viruses during childhood may explain why the number of under-fives with type one diabetes has soared in recent years.

In fact, according to them, exposure to some forms of "friendly" bacteria prevents the onset of type 1 diabetes, which often develops in childhood, where the immune system launches an attack on cells that produce insulin.

The findings support a 'hygiene hypothesis' theory that a lack of exposure to bacteria and viruses may actually lead to an increased risk of diseases like allergies, asthma, and other disorders of the immune system.

Exposure to some forms of bacteria might help to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes, which often develops in childhood, where the immune system launches an attack on cells that produce insulin.

They came to the conclusion after carrying out an experiment on genetically-modified mice that lacked the part of the immune system which responded to bacteria.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, warned that although the research was interesting, the charity would urge against people feeding large amounts of pro-biotic foods to children.

'We have known for some time about the association between early infection and the development of type 1 diabetes,' he said.

 
'The results presented here also suggest that some infections may help to protect against the development of type 1 diabetes.
The researchers found that 80 per cent of the mice raised in a completely germ-free environment, and therefore lacking "friendly" gut bacteria, developed severe diabetes. However, when they gave the mice a cocktail of the usual bacteria found in the gut, the incidence of diabetes fell dramatically.

"Understanding the relationship between our gut flora and our immune system is extremely important. The objective now is to identify which friendly bacteria are having this effect, and how they stop the development of type 1 diabetes," lead researcher prof. Susan Wong of Bristol University said.

However, the findings does not relate to type 2 diabetes, the much more common form of the disease linked to obesity and lifestyle.

Source: Diabetes In Control: the Nature journal, Sept 2008

 
 
 
 
 
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