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Cytomegalovirus may increase risk of diabetes in senior years

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Although most people who screen positive for cytomegalovirus (CMV) in a lab test do not develop any symptoms, an infection that lies dormant may increase the likelihood that an individual will develop type 2 diabetes when he or she becomes elderly.

This conclusion is based on a study of more than 500 individuals, which revealed that diabetes was more common among those who were infected with CMV. The researchers theorize that this may be because the virus can put stress on either the pancreas or cells in the immune system, which may then attack the insulin-producing organ.

"In our study we realized that although CMV seropositivity was associated with type 2 diabetes, higher levels of HnA1c and high non-fasting glucose[,] the actual level of antibodies against CMV was not," the researchers wrote in the journal Immunity and Ageing.

Such a concept may explain why only one-third of individuals who have insulin resistance eventually develop diabetes.

These results may not be applicable to the general population, but may provide insight into how the risk of diabetes later in life may be reduced.

A lab test to screen for CMV DNA can help individuals figure out whether they are infected with the virus.

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