Research suggests type 2 diabetes could be transmitted like mad cow disease
It is estimated that about 6 percent of the world's population suffers from type 2 diabetes. Labelled a global health epidemic by the World Health Organization, rates of the disease increased dramatically from about 30 million cases in 1985 to around 390 million by 2015. A new study has now found a previously undiscovered mechanism that raises the possibility of type 2 diabetes being transmitted in a way similar to infectious diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (mad cow disease).
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 is known to develop with age and is generally thought to occur as a result of lack of exercise and obesity. The dramatic increase in the disease all across the world over the past 50 years is still not clearly understood by scientists.
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A team of researchers at the University of Texas has been focusing on a number of abnormal protein deposits found in over 90 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes. It was identified that this large majority of patients suffering from the disease had aggregates of a misfolded form of the protein islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP).
Small amounts of misfolded IAAP proteins were then injected into mice and the researchers found that this induced the formation of protein deposits in the animal's pancreas. Most striking was the observation that within weeks of receiving the misfolded IAAP aggregates the mice displayed several symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, from elevated blood glucose levels to a loss of pan Continue reading