News from Faustman Lab: Study finds some insulin production in long-term type 1 diabetes

BOSTON – Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research has found that insulin production may persist for decades after the onset of type 1 diabetes. Beta cell functioning also appears to be preserved in some patients years after apparent loss of pancreatic function. The study results were published today in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

"Traditionally, it was thought that beta cell function completely ceased in patients with advanced type 1 diabetes. However, data from this study and others suggest that the pancreas continues to function at some level even decades after the onset of type 1 diabetes," says Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Immunobiology Laboratory, who led the study.

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Tags: beta, cells, islets, research

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Finally! The Roep study and this from Faustman lend a little credence to my lonely voice out here. As I keep saying, "The reports of the death of my pancreas were...wrong" From a 1.6 at diagnosis, my c-peptide is gradually increasing, now at 2.4 I don't know exactly which part or combination of my diet, supplement, and de-stress routine is doing it, but I'm a confirmed Type 1 LADA and against all predictions, my pancreas function is up, not down. http://russellstamets.blogspot.com

I think lADA is often a different story than Type 1s diagnosed as kids, as it's not unusual for LADAs to honeymoon for literally years, especially if they have good control from the start.

A mystery solved. Maybe. I've had T1 for over 50 years with no MAJOR consequences even though my control has been awful. When I asked a doctor about this, he said, "You will." When I asked an endo nurse, she said, "Some people are just like that."
But I think that if A1C is high, it doesn't matter whether you've got beta cells or not. I "should" have more complications than I do.

I've always thought that of myself, too. I've had diabetes for 34 years (you win by a long shot, Alice!) and have no signs of any complications despite BGs that have ranged from 35-350 that entire time. I've figured I had good genes (obvious glitches aside!) and just been grateful. I feel rotten for the folks I meet who have had diabetes only a few years and are on kidney meds.

It may solve a mystery for me, too. In my 30+ years as a T1, I've had (more than) my share of screwing up and having BGs in the 300s, but rarely in the low 400s, and never in my recollection have I been in the 500s (I was too young to know what my BG was at diagnosis). I always thought there was some little force at work that capped my highs in the 300s. This could be it.
Wow! So that explains how I was dx'd type 2 at 51, did pretty well with oral meds until 61, put on insulin and THEN dx'd T1. I'd actually wondered whether my endo was fudging it so that insurance would pay for the pump.

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