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And in other mind-blowing news – Dophins can induce and turn off diabetes

A friend just forwarded this article about dolphins’ newly-discovered ability to “turn on” type 2 diabetes when food is scarce (to keep blood sugar available to their large brains) and to turn it off when there’s plenty to eat. 

While this doesn’t help solve the autoimmune piece of type 1, it does suggest that diabetes in humans may have developed as an adaptation to a protein rich diet and/or extreme cold during the last ice age, with higher blood sugar preventing frostbite (a northern-dwelling wood frog has just this survival mechanism). Part of the ice age theory (summarized in a NY Times article) is that cold temperature is a trigger for those genetically pre-disposed (northern European descent).

That would hold true with Lukas, who developed a mysterious fever right after Seattle’s 2008 heat wave sent us fleeing to Sequim to cool off. He never really recovered and was diagnosed a couple months later.  Annecdotally, I’ve heard quite a few stories of diagnosis (type 1 and type 2) beginning with a sharp temperature change and fever.

Perhaps another evolutionary “just so” story, but intriguing (and a vote for living in warm, sunny climes)!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jen #

    Wow! That is so interesting. Addison never had any weird illnesses before dx. In fact, he maybe had one small cold with runny nose but that was it in all his 15 months of life! I often wonder what it was that triggered d for him..

    February 24, 2010
  2. My daughter had whatever was going around and it including a high fever. She never really rebounded and a few weeks later was diagnosed.

    Whether she would have become diabetic without that illness, who knows. Maybe people are predisposed to it and this trigger turns it on.

    Or maybe it’s slow developing, at a slow enough rate that we don’t notice it, and then an illness speeds it up and brings it to the forefront.

    March 1, 2010

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