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April 27, 2007

Other, Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Sarasota, Florida, USA:

According to the American Diabetes Association, "Infections. Certain viruses have been associated with beta-cell destruction. Diabetes occurs in patients with congenital rubella, although most of these patients have HLA and immune markers characteristic of type 1 diabetes. In addition, coxsackievirus B, cytomegalovirus, adenovirus, and mumps have been implicated in inducing certain cases of the disease." Can you substantiate these findings? I have a Veteran's Administration hearing coming up on May 9th. I am trying to make the case with the military, that an adenovirus may have been, in some way, responsible for (HLA) beta cell damage in my pancreas and/or for my diabetes. If the military feels that the "possibility" exists, they will approve my claim. I had hepatitis as a child and diabetes runs in my family. My mother, late grandmother, and three other siblings have the disease. They are either diet controlled, take pills or are on insulin. Those on insulin use one bottle every three months or so, unlike my 12 bottles per month. Today, I had an Anti-GAD and an Anti-ICA test done. What will these tests determine and are the test results indisputable?

Answer:

The association of type 1 diabetes with viral infections has been shown. However, most patients with type 1 diabetes do not have documented viral infections that associate with their onset of type 1 diabetes. It will be up to the Veteran’s Administration to evaluate your claim regarding this. However, most of the cases that have shown this association have had pathologic tissue for evaluation (meaning the patient died) or there was very good evidence from serologic data showing a rise in antibodies in the serum for a certain virus.

Anti-GAD and anti-ICA antibodies are helpful, if they are positive, but they are not helpful if negative. In other words, you could still have type 1 diabetes and have negative antibody levels.

JTL