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October 28, 1999


Question from Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA:

My 13 year old daughter has been in the honeymoon period for 5 months. Will taking anti-inflammatory medicine such as aspirin or ibuprofen slow down the damage to her islet cells?


The anti-inflammatory effect of drugs such as “NSAIDs” (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs; aspirin and ibuprofen both belong to this group) could only slow down a very little the chronic damage to beta cells, probably because it is a long lasting autoimmune attack to the beta cells mediated by T-lymphocytes which counts most towards the destruction of those cells. During the time of the honeymoon period, more than 90% of these beta cells are already destroyed, and it is only tight metabolic control of the blood sugar level which can prolong the life of those still alive.