Herpes and Diabetes - The Latest Connection

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    I've talked before about how there are numerous HPV as well as herpes viruses and certainly when it comes to research, a specific herpes virus may have a connection to diabetes.  First of all the reason why this is so important and actually fascinating is because research now seems to be linking different viruses to a number of different conditions whose causes were always thought to be something other than an infectious agent.  There was even recent talk and research that seemed to implicate a virus as a possible cause of obesity.


    In the case of this new research, which was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by French researchers, HHV-8 a very specific human herpes virus seems to be linked with onset of an atypical form of diabetes (DM-2).  The diabetes in this case is ketosis-prone diabetes type 2 which is a form of adult onset diabetes that has a higher risk of the patient developing a build up of ketone bodies in their body tissues and fluids.  This is a more complicated and dangerous form of diabetes type 2 and so far this research that linked herpes and diabetes, only involved people from sub-Sahara Africa.  DM-2 was identified in this population back in the late 1980s and the HHV-8 virus markers are clearly present in significant titers in these patients.  Individuals with other forms of diabetes type 2 had extremely low levels of HHV-8.  As with AIDS, these areas of the world may encourage more unusual infections and viruses because of the forces of nature, poverty and animal population that all coincide. 

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    In this case it is obvious that researchers will probably try to test other populations around the world that may have significant rates of this type of diabetes to see if they also have significant presence or blood titers of HHV-8.  I think the more that research looks at viruses, the more we will probably see them as causes or links to other diseases and conditions.  Unlike bacteria, viruses do not have an arsenal of specific drug treatments so I would guess this will also spur research into medicines and therapies that will combat viruses.

Published On: June 20, 2008