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Can Germs Trigger Type 1 Diabetes?

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According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 1.25 million citizens in the United States live with diabetes. In adults over the age of 65, this equates to more than 25 percent of seniors or 12 million elderly adults who manage diabetes and require assistance from Lincoln, NE, caregivers. Scientists now believe that microbial infections may play a major role in the onset of the disease process. 

Cardiff University Studies

Until recently, scientists had very little knowledge as to what processes led to the development of type 1 diabetes. U.K. Cardiff University researchers performing studies in the Systems Immunity Research Institute discovered that killer T-cells contribute to the start of diabetes by destroying the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Normally, T-cells are one of the immune system’s mechanisms that are responsible for protecting the body against infection. As in the case of autoimmune diseases, these cells mistake normal body cells for invading microbes and begin a destructive process. 

Using a powerful X-ray laboratory device known as the Diamond Light Source synchrotron, the team evaluated samples and learned that the cells known to destroy bacteria are also damaging pancreatic cells. During their ongoing study, the team found that T-cells are highly reactive to different types of triggers. The scientists also identified evidence of microbes that might trigger a T-cell attack. By understanding how T-cells are partly responsible, new diagnostic methods and more effective treatments may develop in the future. 

University of North Carolina Studies

A research team led by Dr. Paul Hess believes that the connection between T-cells and type 1 diabetes involves rogue cells. In the majority of people’s bodies, T-cells are eliminated or turned off when the immune system suspects the possibility of abnormal behavior. However, in some people, the body does not use this defense mechanism, which allows rogue T-cells to attack healthy cells. The scientists have developed a substance known as Saporin that targets abnormal T-cells. The cells absorb the substance and die. Thus far, the study has proven successful in laboratory animals. 

As scientists work to identify the cause of type 1 diabetes, seniors who live with the disease can turn to Home Care Assistance of Lincoln for help managing the disease in the comfort and convenience of home. Our highly skilled caregivers will remind your loved one to take medications, eat healthy meals, and maintain a steady exercise regimen to maintain health and vitality. Call (402) 261-5158 today to schedule a complimentary consultation with a friendly Care Manager and learn how we can better your loved one’s home care experience.