Traffic May Drive Some People to Diabetes

Science & the Public Blog: People with chronic inflammation may be especially vulnerable.

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“To the best of our knowledge,” the authors say, “this is the first prospective, population-based study which showed a statistically significant association between traffic-related air pollution and incident type 2 diabetes.” The link “persisted when four different spatial scales were used to assess exposure levels and remained robust after adjustment for confounders,” they note, including obesity, income and exposure to several indoor air pollutants.

If pollution’s link to this disease is confirmed, Rathmann’s team argues, it might also help explain why diabetes is higher in urban areas than rural ones—something often seen when developing countries undergo rapid urbanization. In the past, urbanization’s link to diabetes had been attributed largely to accompanying lifestyle changes such as diet and physical activity.

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