Does 'Brown Fat' Explain a Link Between Temperature and Diabetes?
Are rising temperatures around the world also increasing the rates of diabetes? A new study from the Netherlands suggests that there may be a link between warming global temperatures and a higher prevalence of the disease, but not all experts are convinced.
When the researchers analyzed average global temperatures and the rates of type 2 diabetes, they found that a 1.8-degree Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) increase in temperature was associated with an increase of 0.3 cases of diabetes per 1,000 people. In the United States, that would be the equivalent of more than 100,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes each year, according to the study, published Monday (March 20) in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
The new research may be interesting, but it shows only an association between rising temperatures and diabetes rates, said Dr. Christian Koch, a professor of endocrinology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center who was not involved in the new study. Although both temperatures and diabetes rates are rising, "there's no causality" between the two, Koch added. [5 Ways Climate Change Will Affect Your Health]
Importantly, the study did not include two key factors when looking at this association: physical-activity levels and indoor climate control — namely, air conditioning, Koch told Live Science.
A possible link?
The study looked at the rates of type 2 diabetes in all 50 states, along with Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from 1996 to 2013. In addition, the researchers looked at data on the average temperatures in each state and territory f Continue reading