I’ve got to put this beater blog to rest soon. Tot in title no longer tot. A few exorcisms first….
When I first heard about the TEDDY (The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young) study a few years ago, I thought, holy shit, exactly, it IS environmental, this inexplicable rise in incidence – and incidence in the itty bitty ones. I knew it! What is it, what is it? Tell.
So many theories had been nagging me. I have this split frame vision of Ben playing in the dirt, gathering rocks and sticks at 10 months old, like he continues to do five years later. And then I see the lawn maintenance guys come do their business, maybe spray something or other here and there…. And there are more ideas knocking around.
I had a chance to hear an investigator on the TEDDY study speak recently, and the data is in. Not for us. For them. He was careful not to give away unpublished results. (Hey, summer is ending guys, sit down, and crush out some papers.) Anyhow, he did share information on antibodies and also some interesting associations (certain genotypes) and non-associations (dairy! I don’t believe! can we talk about A1 and A2?). What he found most exciting was a viral trigger. Let’s say your child has antibodies but hasn’t converted yet… get a vaccine for this virus, and maybe never get diabetes? I think that was the gist. I went to some dark places there. And I have to admit, there was a split second in which I felt like that actress at the Oscars who has big fake smile, clapping for other winning actress. Not exactly— because I would only feel happy if diabetes could be prevented in other children. But I saw my kid- and yours- as this weird dying breed, no one gets diabetes anymore, there is just this slowly dying out population of people who were diagnosed before big breakthrough. Technology (pumps, CGMs, closed loops!) then of course would lose interest…. In the meantime do I need to be prepared to go all breaking bad and read all the lab notebooks of Eva Saxl’s husband? No, thanks to type 2 diabetes, at least insulin will always be made….Ok, dark, dark, moving on.
He said there was an association with maternal stress/ depression or family issues. Whoopsies. Sorry, kid. Should never have read Anna Karenina, shouldn’t have done half the shit i did…. He did not mention anything about gut microbiota. That better be coming along soon with future publications. Others have demonstrated an alteration in gut microbiota preceding onset of T1D. And I think back to his medically managed birth. Apparently, I, like 10-30% of pregnant women, had a vagina colonized with Group B strep which is treated with IV antibiotics during labor to prevent a less than 1% chance of complications in the newborn. I wasn’t even asked, there was just another line hooked up to me. Did I wipe out his good bacteria? I don’t know. Look, I’m sorry about my dirty vagina. I’m sorry I let you play in the dirt (no, I’m not). I’m sorry that after a few months I had to quit nursing and give you formula with Round-up laden soy (fuck YOU, Monsanto). Totally gave you diabetes. But also gave you intellectual and athletic ability and a cute face?
TEDDY aside, some risk/ protective factors are being established. Yes to Vitamin D. No to gluten. Vitamin D encourages the immune system along the less-autoimmune route. And gluten? Devil. Some can eat it (I’m jealous), but some- anyone with autoimmune issues or at risk of- should stay away. Get definitive information on your child’s antibody status here.