Scientists Find Viral Link to Type 1 Diabetes

This article recently appeared in Diabetes Health.

Does not happen just with kids…I was 45 at the time I was diagnosed and had just gotten over a bout of hives that spread over my system in a pattern suggesting a viral infection. At the same time, there was a mini “bloom” of newly diagnosed T1 children in my town.

Yep, my 5YO DD was dx in March this year, she has been tested and has high levels of AE2 antibodies. The consultant suggested doing the tests as there are two main viruses that cause permanent T1 - AE2 being one of them.

I thought it was well know that Type1 was mostly caused by viruses, certainly I was told this from the get go.

Sometimes I feel bad because people don’t know the difference between types 1 and 2 and mostly hear about type 2 in the media - a couple of ignorant people have made comments - like they think I have been stuffing her full of chesseburgers and Fanta for goodness sakes.

nopucksnosticks when my DD was admitted the endocrinologist said they would now be expecting another two or three cases in the next few weeks as they generally had around three to five cases a year and usually in the spring.

The only thing I’d add to this is the DNA link that makes the viral action possible is thought to be paternal. My heratige is Nordic on my father’s side and the incidence of t1 for Nordic populations is pretty large.

We were told at dx that they believe the coxsackie virus was the culprit. No one ever had the coxsackie virus, just exposure to the virus alone (going around her school) would be enough to trigger an autoimmune attack. All the enteroviruses are suspected triggers and have been for years.

Suzie’s mum…It always tugs at my heart when a little one skips by me at the endro with an infusion set attached to their arm. I feel very lucky to have avoided T1 as long as I did. Sounds like Suzie has somebody strong in her corner so I guess she is pretty lucky too.

Janice, we all spend the first couple of years after diagnosis trying to locate that one thing that tripped the T1 lever. It’s an important question for anyone who has children or hopes to have children. So far, the viral/DNA link has been the predominate theory. But still not a complete answer…

Some interesting research going on that target these antibodies…

I’ve been interested in exactly what it is that causes/triggers this disease as it runs in my family. I never knew my grandfather as he died at the age of 28. His death was the year prior to the discovery of insulin. My mother was only 3 at the time. She, too, had diabetes. I have it as well. I have a daughter who is showing signs, but won’t go to the doctor. I cannot encourage her to find out. I also have a granddaughter who was diagnosed last fall with type 1.

Thanks…great article.

I was wondering if anyone has found a link between steroids and type 1. I met a man who son went through the same problems with his child having allergies that caused severe sinusitis and pneumonia. His son too took nebulizer treatments and steroids in the pill form. He swears his son’s t1 is caused by steroids. Thanks for any info


“Because it is not unusual for steroid treatment to precipitate type 1 or type 2 diabetes in a person who is already in the process of developing it, it is not always possible to determine whether apparent steroid diabetes will be permanent or will go away when the steroids are finished”

Steroid treatment after development of T1 will often cause high BG’s.

Hmmm. I have a definite family history of type 1 diabetes. Prior to being diagnosed, I had a dramatic experience of what was called a severe arthritic allergic reaction to an extremely high dosge of steriods. I initially gained 20lbs. in a week then every…and I mean every joint in my body felt like it was being twisted and pulled apart. A few years ago I had to go to a pain clinic for excruciating pain in my lower back–osteophytes growing on my spine. I couldn’t walk…arrived in a wheelchair…left feeling like I could run a mile!! I had 3 treatments spread out over a few months. Then the hair on the top of my head started falling out as if I had had chemo. I wasn’t aware of exactly what the doctor was injecting. I just wanted the pain gone…couldn’t continue taking morphine (duh). I cannot take the usual prescribed pain meds. I also might add that I had to battle BG’s of over 700.

Wow -, that’s a terrible experience to have to endure…perhaps it did result in your T1 and current use of meds might be responsible for your high BG’s. I hope you have a talented D team working with you during this time…I’d contact Joslin to see if they can offer advice or referral…

For me - I have DR3 and DR4 gentic markers for T1 and did have an extreame viral reaction a couple of months prior to diagnosis. I feel very fortunate I did not develop the disease until later in life and have already developed other autoimmune problems. I think we should all be awarded advanced degrees in chemistry for the research and OJT experiences D forces us to make…

I’m currently using a TENS unit. I just takes the edge off, though. But, hey…no hair loss or increase in BG levels…cuts down on the territory available for my Pod.

Use that for my PT for frozen shoulder w/ice…want one for home! Hair loss - I have some permanent loss on top of my head due to thyroid. I use some of the powder make-up sold over the internet to cut down on the glare and have a very sympathetic hairdresser…my question is - why the top of my head and not the random hairs that pop up on my chin? No justice. hang in there Janice…my first name is Linda.

Since my PT suggested it, my insurance covered most of the cost. 80%. Life seems to be full of those curiosities. Why is it that if you make the mistake of over-plucking your eyebrows, it seems that they never want to grow back; yet, those “random hairs” seem to come roaring back the next day!?

Exactly. Why do men get the longest eyelashes and the smallest ankles…Why does my 95lb 47 year-old sister-in-law never gain weight despite eating everything in sight…Why do the French have cholesterol numbers over 400 and don’t require treatment.

Why can a man eliminate one thing from his diet and lose 20lbs in a month, while a woman will lose 5lbs. if she’s lucky!!! So not fair. I know… I know–muscles…but STILL.

There is a family history of T1 on my husband’s side. I had a hyperactive thyroid- also an autoimmune disease. Our daughter was diagnosed 2 years ago - about 3 months after having strep- a virus!!! My nephew got T1 about 3-4 months after chicken pox- a virus! My husband’s cousin’s daughter was diagnosed 3-4 months with T1 after strep also!! I think his family has a genetic predisposition to get T1, and the virus triggers it.

It sometimes makes you wonder why it took the scientists so long to “find” this link, huh. Perhaps if the doctors were to compare notes…