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Joslin study finds restricting insulin doses increases mortality risk
Date:2/26/2008

BOSTON Feb. 27, 2008 -- A new study led by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center has found that women with type 1 diabetes who reported taking less insulin than prescribed had a three-fold increased risk of death and higher rates of disease complications than those who did not skip needed insulin shots. The new research appears in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

The study highlights the dangers of insulin restriction and concludes that mortality associated with the behavior appears to occur in the context of eating disorder symptoms often exhibited in women with diabetes sometimes referred to as diabulimia in the media.

This 11-year follow-up study of 234 women is one of the first to show an increased risk of mortality as well as higher rates of kidney and foot problems in those who restricted their insulin intake. In addition, the average age of death was younger for those involved in insulin restriction: 45 years of age as compared to 58 years for those who did not restrict.

Thirty percent of the subjects reported restricting their insulin intake at the studys outset. Frequency of the behavior appears to influence mortality risk. Insulin-restricting women who died had reported more frequent insulin restriction and reported more eating disorder symptoms at the studys outset than those insulin-restrictors who were still living at studys end.

Eating disorder symptoms include extreme concern for body weight and shape, judging self worth according to a thin body ideal, restrictive eating patterns, binge eating and other methods of purging calories, such as vomiting.

This is an incredibly important womens health issue in the area of diabetes, said lead author Ann E. Goebel-Fabbri, Ph.D., psychologist and investigator in the Section on Behavioral and Mental Health at Joslin Diabetes Center and instructor at Harvard Medical School. The average age of death was significantly younger in the insulin-restricting gro
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Contact: Kira Jastive
kira.jastive@joslin.harvard.edu
617-732-2418
Joslin Diabetes Center
Source:Eurekalert

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