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In a Canadian study involving 42 patients with type 1 diabetes, nearly half of the subjects had an abnormal response to wheat proteins. Scientists at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa, who conducted the study, found that the patients' over-reaction to wheat is linked to genes that are associated with type 1 diabetes.
The findings have two implications. First, testing for sensitivity to wheat could be a way of establishing whether a person is predisposed to acquiring type 1 diabetes. Second, people at risk for type 1 might forestall its onset by eliminating wheat from their diet.
The presence of wheat generates a response by the body's immune system in the form of attacks by T cell defenders. The Canadians believe that this constant over-reaction puts a strain on the immune system, eventually unbalancing it to the point that it attacks other parts of the body, including the pancreas.
Given the small number of patients in the study, lead researcher Dr. Fraser Scott said that more research would be needed to confirm the link between sensitivity to wheat and the predisposition toward type 1. He noted, however, that previous research with lab animals has shown that a wheat-free diet reduced the risk of developing diabetes.
The study was published in the August 2009 issue of Diabetes.
0 comments - Aug 31, 2009
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