Scientists at a Toronto hospital may have discovered proof that the body's nervous system helps trigger diabetes.
This stunning discovery, which shocked even the researchers who made it, could eventually lead to a near-cure of diabetes. Type I diabetes in particulars long been thought to be incurable.
Diabetic mice were injected with injected with capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, which counteracted the effect of malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas. The mice became healthy practically overnight.
This goes against the previous conventional wisdom that Type 1 diabetes is caused solely by the body's immune system attacking the pancreas. Apparently, the nerves also secrete neuropeptides that are crucial to the proper functioning of the pancreas.The nervous system could also play a role in other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and Crohn's disease. The researchers have not confirmed their findings in people, but expect results from human studies within a year. However, a treatment may still be years away.
Cell December 14, 2006; 127(6): 1123-1135
National Post December 15, 2006