OH MY F’ING GOD. Just found on Instapundit:
In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a Toronto hospital say they have proof the body’s nervous system helps trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the disease that affects millions of Canadians.
Diabetic mice became healthy virtually overnight after researchers injected a substance to counteract the effect of malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Dr. Michael Salter, a pain expert at the Hospital for Sick Children and one of the scientists. “Mice with diabetes suddenly didn’t have diabetes any more.”
Don’t get too excited yet, but let’s hope this pans out. If it does, we’ll have to wonder what else we’ve been missing in diseases we thought we understood.
My father died from complications of diabetes, and I am borderline diabetic myself. Several of my co-workers are diabetic and had to take early retirement. All suffered from complications. This could be huge, even if it were only diabetes. The kicker? It’s not–although the treament doesn’t directly have anything to do with other diseases, it marks a radical change in how we think neuropathic diseases work.
They also conclude that there are far more similarities than previously thought between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and that nerves likely play a role in other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and Crohn’s disease.
The “paradigm-changing” study opens “a novel, exciting door to address one of the diseases with large societal impact,” said Dr. Christian Stohler, a leading U.S. pain specialist and dean of dentistry at the University of Maryland, who has reviewed the work.
You see, all along, we’ve been thinking “the pancreas stops making insulin.” A while back it was discovered that it still makes insulin — it just isn’t releasing it because the tiny production “islets” are inflammed. By injecting a simple extract of chili peppers to kill the pain nerves in the pancreas, the inflamation went away, and the pancreas’ of the test mice started producing insulin again. Stranger still, insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) dropped dramatically after the treatments.
Let’s hear it for lab mice. Next time someone says “animal testing is inhumane,” I suggest giving them a few chronic diseases.