Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bacteria help to prevent diabetes

It is true that micro-organisms such as bacteria have a bad image, as they are the cause of various nasty diseases and discomfort. On the other hand, we have discovered that bacteria play an important role in the body: we have more of these microbes than cells in our body, and scientists previously discovered that they help to fight off all kinds of infections, as well as help us with digestion. Now, a study revealed that bacteria that populate our intestine help to prevent diabetes, a rather interesting finding.

The relationship between bacteria in the intestines and the development of diabetes was studied in mice by scientists from the University of Toronto and the University of Bern. In their study, the researchers used NOD mice, a specific strain that is known to be more prone towards developing diabetes than ordinary mice. Coincidentally, the pathogenesis of the disease in NOD mice is very similar to what is happening in diabetic humans, which makes them an excellent study animal.
According to the scientists, bacteria in the intestines produce certain kinds of chemicals that alter our metabolism and hormone production. These metabolic changes appear to protect us against diabetes, as the Canadian and Swiss scientists noted that the products of intestinal bacteria made NOD mice less prone to developing the disease. Because it is likely to work in the same way in humans, we may be able to use these findings as a new treatment for diabetes. Because this disease is ever-increasing in incidence, finding novel therapies is much needed.

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