Friday, December 15, 2006

A Cure for Diabetes?

Glenn Reynolds (at Instapundit) carries this amazing story:
In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a Toronto hospital say they have proof the body's nervous system helps trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the disease that affects millions of Canadians.

Diabetic mice became healthy virtually overnight after researchers injected a substance to counteract the effect of malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas.

"I couldn't believe it," said Dr. Michael Salter, a pain expert at the Hospital for Sick Children and one of the scientists. "Mice with diabetes suddenly didn't have diabetes any more."
Hawaii, where I live, has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the United States if not the world...largely due to the large Polynesian/Pacific Islander population in which it is near-epidemic. While a "cure" such as this would not necessarily help with the other problems associated with obesity and inappropriate diet I am very excited about this possible step forward. Amazing!

Who knows what this line of research will lead to in the future.

It is somewhat counter-intuitive to view diabetes as being related to "malfunctioning pain neurons." Perhaps some forms of cancer might be triggered by things just as counter-intuitive?

While I have no one in my family with diabetes I Know many people (including a new-born girl in my congregation) who do. For them this will seem like good, encouraging news indeed!