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Does the fine dust of road traffic cause diabetes?
The fine dust pollution from road traffic could lead to a significant increase in the risk of diabetes, researchers reported at the Diabetes Congress 2012 in Stuttgart on Friday.
At the annual congress of the German Diabetes Association (DDG), experts presented the latest research findings in the field of diabetes. In addition to the established relationship between diabetes and depression, one of the salient topics was the increase in the risk of diabetes due to the fine dust pollution on busy streets. Several studies indicate that near the main roads, the likelihood of diabetes is well above average.
Environmental factors and diabetes Under the agenda item environmental factors and diabetes at the diabetes congress on Friday, several speakers discussed the connection between fine dust pollution and the diabetes risk. In their short lectures of around 20 minutes each, the experts referred to a study from the USA, in which a 20 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes was found for women who live near a main road. A first German pilot study in the Ruhr area would also have shown that people living near a busy street had an increased incidence of diabetes. Animal experiments with mice have also shown that permanent exposure to fine dust leads to damage to the energy metabolism, which promotes the occurrence of insulin resistance or diabetes, according to the speakers at the Diabetes Congress.
Connection between fine dust pollution and diabetes According to the experts, it can generally be assumed that environmental pollution has a significant influence on the risk of diabetes. This applies to pesticides - with which people in Germany today come into contact only in relatively low doses thanks to stricter laws - but also to the fine dust from road traffic. The studies to date have not been able to determine exactly how strong the relationships between environmental factors and diabetes are, but it can be seen that, at least in the case of particulate matter, there is a striking connection between the increase in the particulate matter concentration and the number of diabetes diseases in the immediate vicinity the scientists reported at the annual DDG congress. Based on the studies carried out so far, it is not possible to say exactly whether the particulate matter actually causes diabetes, Michael Roden from the German Diabetes Center Düsseldorf explained in his lecture "Clinical relevance of environmental factors for prevention and care of type 2 diabetes" and added : "A new risk factor may arise here."
Fine dust as a new diabetes risk factor? According to the experts at the diabetes congress, further research is urgently needed to investigate the effects of the residential area on the main streets on the risk of diabetes. Although it can already be seen that the connection between the risk of diabetes and fine dust pollution is also confirmed by taking into account the known risk factors such as obesity, smoking or a lack of exercise, an exact scientific assessment has so far not been carried out. It can also be assumed that the risk factors mentioned continue to play a significantly greater role in the development of diabetes than the pollution caused by fine dust from road traffic, according to the experts. (fp)
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Image: Erich Westendarp / pixelio.de