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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Diabetes and Pollution Linked?

Diabetes and pollution was the topic of discussion in Lancet. In its issue it reported on the need for research on the possible link between the pollution in the environment and diabetes. Drs. Julian Griffin and Oliver Jones from Cambridge emphasized the need to investigate this probable link.

Not much is known about the link between type 2 diabetes and pollution in the environment so the two doctors encouraged the investigation of the POP's (persistent organic pollutants) effect on resistance to insulin which we know can lead to diabetes.

In their presentation, both Drs. Griffin and Jones mentioned the research on the POP's link that was reviewed by their peers. This included the study conducted by Dr. D. Lee which showed an extra strong connection between the type 2 diabetes risk and the POP's level in the blood.

The POP that was particularly found is the one known as organochlorine compounds. It is interesting to note that in the research conducted by Dr. Lee there was no correlation between diabetes and obesity among those who had low POP's in their blood.

So it looked like that thin people whose POP's level in their blood were high had a higher risk for diabetes than if they were overweight but with low readings of POP. This indicates the correlation between diabetes and the environmental pollution. Of course there are other diabetes risk factors.

Then, Dominion, a Canadian newspaper, reported that the evidence between diabetes and pollution is growing especially among the native people. One of every four adults in this group who live in Canadian reserves have type 2 diabetes. According to the National Pollutant Release Inventory of Environment Canada, 212 of these communities live near pulp mills and others that produce furans and dioxins.

Dr. Jones said that this possible link does not routinely mean that environmental pollution causes diabetes but if there is a correlation, the implications could be huge. There is not much data on this as of this writing because the focus of researches is on obesity and heredity. Environmental pollution has not been considered as a possible cause of the disease.

This hypotheses on the POP effect should be tested by using tissue or cell cultures to be certain that diabetes can occur, Dr. Jones suggested. If it is found to be the cause then a therapeutic method can be developed to help people who are affected by this. So there is a need for more studies on diabetes and pollution.

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