You might have read this week that there is now a “Type 3” diabetes—Alzheimer's disease. Scientists at Northwestern University believe that Alzheimer's disease is caused by insulin resistance in the brain. They even use the term Type 3 diabetes in the abstract of their study.
The differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are apparently not confusing enough. Now we need to add a Type 3 diabetes into the mix?
The geniuses at the American Diabetes Association came up with the Type 1 and Type 2 naming conventions in 2000 to move away from basing the names on treatment or age at onset. (Interestingly, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation continues to use the word “juvenile” in its name.)
How can we better differentiate the diseases? Instead of Type 1, we could say “autoimmune diabetes” or “autoimmune insulin deficiency” or “genetic diabetes”? Instead of Type 2 we could say “insulin-resistance” or “insulin-deficient diabetes”? Would a rename make it less confusing for John Q. Public or make no difference? Personally, I don’t think both diseases can share the name “diabetes” or the two will forever be confused.
We’ve talked about the name confusion at length on Tudiabetes and there have also been recent articles discussing the subject in The New York Times and other publications. Why is the ADA so reluctant to make a name change? I think it is necessary with the explosive growth of Type 2 diabetes worldwide.