People with type 1 diabetes are more than three times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) than are those without diabetes, new research (by Dr. Nete M. Nielsen, from the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, and colleagues) from Denmark shows.
In addition, the two diseases appear to be linked, albeit to a weaker extent, within families.
Both type 1 diabetes and MS are auto-immune diseases, in which the body mounts an aberrant immune response against its own tissues — attacking insulin-producing cells in the case of diabetes, and the myelin sheath surrounding neurons in MS.
The new, population-based study is not the first to reveal an association between type 1 diabetes and MS. However, previous evidence had come from relatively small numbers of patients.
SOURCE: Archives of Neurology, July 2006.