Is it possible to catch diabetes? It sounds absurd, but that's what a reputable new study suggests. And it may be that other 'lifestyle' diseases such as joint pain and even obesity are contagious, too
At one time, infectious diseases used to decimate human populations — catching something such as cholera or smallpox was usually a death sentence.
But now, thanks to vaccines and antibiotics, few of us need worry about ‘catching’ anything worse than a cold, flu or an upset stomach.
But have we become too complacent?
Intriguingly, scientists are finding evidence that you may be able to catch such ‘lifestyle’ disorders as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even joint pain.
Last year, scientists found that bacteria from the gut that have been linked to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and allergies can form spores — tiny hibernating ‘seeds’ given off by live bacteria that help it survive and multiply.
The research, published in the journal Nature, showed these spores can survive in the open air and could potentially infect other people. ‘This is a new way of transmitting disease that hasn’t been considered before,’ said researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
It’s cutting-edge science and, of course, more research is needed, but here we look at the surprising conditions researchers now believe might be infectious...
CAN YOU PICK UP DIABETES FROM MEAT?
Earlier this year, U.S. researchers suggested that type 2 diabetes may be caught from damaged proteins known as prions — these are infectious agents, like those that transmitted BSE (or mad cow disease) from cattle to humans.
This is very different to the standard explanation for diabetes of too much weight and too little exercise leading to an excess of sugar (glucose) in the blood bec Continue reading