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Why do some people with type 1 never have complications?

Everyone knows we should value the knowledge and experience of the older generation. Now JDRF-funded researchers are acting on this advice, and turning to people who have had type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years to gain new insights into how the condition progresses.

The results of this study, led by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center in the USA, have been published in the journal Diabetes Care. By looking at people who have spent fifty or more years living with type 1, the team aimed to shed light on factors that provide a protective effect against the complications of type 1.

Using medical records, the 351 participants were assessed for retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy and cardiovascular disease in relation to diabetes measures like HbA1c levels. A high proportion of the group were shown to be completely free from these complications, independent of their blood glucose control over the previous 15 years. This suggests they have inbuilt protection mechanisms that could be useful targets for therapies to benefit the general population.

Lead researcher, Professor George King, said: ‘If we can identify what constitutes this protective mechanism, we have the potential to induce such protections in others living with diabetes. That's huge.’

Read the full article here