Global Surge in Type 1 Diabetes Still an Enigma

Though theories abound, scientists still don’t understand what is causing the rise in type 1 diabetes in children worldwide.

By Johannah Sakimura, Everyday Health Staff Writer

FRIDAY, March 22, 2013 — The incidence of type 1 diabetes in children is on the rise worldwide, with the number of new cases growing by an average of 3% per year in youth under age 15. The reasons for the sharp increase remain a medical mystery, since researchers have not been able to identify the changing conditions that are causing more kids to be diagnosed in recent decades. A new study presented this week at the annual Society for Endocrinology conference may help shed more light on this disturbing trend.

“This increase in incidence has been occurring over the last thirty to forty years and genetics don’t change that quickly, so we know this is environment,” said Richard Insel, MD, Chief Scientific Officer for JDRF, an organization that funds type 1 diabetes research. “Something has distinctly changed in the environment.”

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