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Cold Viruses Appear Linked to Type 1 Diabetes
Date:2/4/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- While the causes of type 1 diabetes aren't known for certain, a new analysis backs the possibility that cold-like viruses might trigger the disease.

Australian researchers looked at a number of studies, and concluded there is a strong association between enteroviruses and the development of type 1 diabetes. In fact, children with diabetes were 10 times more likely to have had an enterovirus infection than children without the disease.

"The finding implies that enterovirus infection is a very important cause of type 1 diabetes," said lead researcher Dr. Maria Craig, an associate professor at Children's Hospital at Westmead's Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes in Sydney.

Craig noted that the idea that enteroviruses are involved in the development of type 1 diabetes is not new, but this study makes use of new data that makes the association more likely.

"It is time to look at how these viruses are involved in the disease process," Craig said. The goal would be to find a way to "stop these viruses from contributing to diabetes -- potentially leading to vaccination," she added.

The report is published in the Feb. 3 online edition of the BMJ.

For the study, Craig's team, using a type of research known as a meta-analysis, reviewed 24 papers and two abstracts involving 4,448 individuals to see if there was an association between type 1 diabetes and enterovirus infection.

The data suggested a strong association, especially among children, Craig said.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic factors, the immune system and environmental factors, the researchers explained. And enteroviruses are common viruses in infants and children. Enteroviruses can cause cold or flu symptoms, fever, muscle aches, rash or even meningitis, they noted.

Recently, there has been a worldwide increase in the
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