April 11, 2013

Can Family Stress Lead to T1D?

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histrionicsIs psychological stress in the family during the child’s first year of life associated with the risk of childhood  T1D? It’s a compelling question that was answered in a study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.

The beta-cell stress hypothesis says all factors that increase the need for, or the resistance to, insulin may be regarded as risk factors for T1D. Researchers wanted to see if psychological stress in the family could impose stress that impairs the beta cells.

In this study, almost 9000 children from the general population were followed for over a decade. Of these children 42 cases of T1D were identified.

Each child had a parent submit a questionnaire indicating stressful events during the first year of life. These stressful events ranged from serious life events, parenting stress, or parental dissatisfaction.

The results of this study found no association between psychological stress early in life and development of T1D.

The islet cells are the “super athletes” of the human body. Islet cells have a higher metabolic rate than cardiac cells. In due course of family life one should expect drama and stress. If family stress can disrupt the performance of the “super athlete” cells in the body — we’d have a problem too large to handle on our hands with T1D rates.

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