Pathogen exposure linked to Type 1 diabetes

Updated: Mar 20, 2013, 10:32 AM IST

Valetta: Scientists have linked lack of exposure to pathogens to increasing rates of Type 1 diabetes, said a study.

Countries with lower mortality from infectious disease exhibit higher rates of Type 1 diabetes, according to a new study by Dr. A. Abela and Professor S. Fava of the University of Malta.

The study collated data from three major international studies and presented it at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Harrogate, Britain.

It suggests that the unexplained global rise in Type 1 diabetes may be linked to reduced exposure to pathogens in early life.

Type 1 diabetes is caused when the immune system destroys the cells of the pancreas that release insulin, leaving the patient unable to control his blood sugar. It is estimated to affect around half a million children worldwide, increasing in incidence by an estimated 3 percent every year.