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A positive HbA1c test for type 2 diabetes is a common consequence of obesity. However, doctors may be coming to a new understanding of the link between the two conditions, as a new study has found that inflammation may not be the cause of insulin resistance, contrary to what was previously thought.
For decades, it was believed that high levels of fat caused inflammation in tissue throughout the body, which made it less sensitive to the effects of insulin, thereby causing type 2 diabetes. While evidence was far from conclusive, this was the dominant view of how the condition develops.
However, a new study from a team of Children’s Hospital Boston researchers shows that inflammation actually triggers the activation of two proteins that are central to blood sugar regulation. In this way, swelling may actually be a beneficial reaction to adverse conditions, rather than a disease risk factor.
"This finding is completely contrary to the general dogma in the diabetes field that low-grade inflammation in obesity causes insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes," said lead study author Umut Ozcan. "For 20 years, this inflammation has been seen as detrimental, whereas it is actually beneficial."
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