Probiotics and Type 1 Diabetes

Probiotic pills conceptCan probiotics help stave off the development of type 1 diabetes in infants at risk to develop the condition?  In a provocative study in this week's JAMA Pediatrics Rick and I talk about on PodMed  this week, the answer seems to be yes, at least in those with a specific mutation. Researchers gathered data from almost 7500 children at risk to develop type 1 diabetes from six clinical centers, three in the US and three in Europe.  Blood samples to assess antibody development to islet cells of the pancreas, one target of autoimmunity in the disease, were collected every 3 months when the children were between 3 and 48 months of age and then every six months thereafter. The cohort was stratified with regard to consumption of probiotics as this is common practice in Europe but not in the US. The data showed that those children who had one genotype, called DR3/4, and who consumed probiotics were at a greater than 60% reduced risk for developing diabetes compared to those not exposed but who had the same genotype. Pretty powerful stuff, in my mind, and well worth assessing in a prospective, randomized fashion. Now for finding an effective intervention for all those other at risk!

Other topics this week include a JAMA study showing that one-third of adult cancers may be due to inherited genes, JAMA Pediatrics on influencing food choices in middle and high school students, and the true value of cancer screening tests in the BMJ.  Until next week, y'all live well.

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Sally Robertson February 9, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Very interesting article! This is important information for me (a 78 year old). My mother has diabetes. During the last 30 years I have watched my own blood glucose level go up slowly but consistently. This is in spite of the fact that I eat very little sugar. However, by taking soil-based probiotics and other supplements, I am now seeing the blood sugar level go down.

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