Does diabetes protect from MND?

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a dreadful condition, one of the most difficult a neurologist comes across. And the impact on the patient and their families is quite profound. News from the MND world is hardly ever cheering, and this is reflected by my recent post which suggests that formaldehyde possibly predisposes to motor neurone disease. Any good news, no matter how far-fetched, is therefore welcome.

Motor neuron on a muscle cell. Matt Brown on Flikr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/londonmatt/5869934793
Motor neuron on a muscle cell. Matt Brown on Flikr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/londonmatt/5869934793

And this is probably as flimsy as they come; a recent paper in JAMA Neurology suggests that type 2 (and not type 1) diabetes mellitus may reduce the risk of MND. This is a small trial in a Danish population. This is clearly not a case of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. It may be cheering news for people with diabetes, but more importantly it may be a clue for researchers looking for a cure for MND.

By International Diabetes Foundation - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World_Diabetes_Day_logo.svg, Public Domain, Link
By International Diabetes Foundation – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World_Diabetes_Day_logo.svg, Public Domain, Link

Talking of MND cures, there is some more hopeful news for people with MND. Researchers in Sheffield are working on potential genetic treatment for people with the SOD 1 gene mutation, an important cause of hereditary MND. This SOD1-targeted gene therapy is essentially gene silencing, and this is still in early stages. But it is hope all the same-the future is not all doom and gloom.

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