Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Type 2: Genetic Reliance

Disclaimer: This contains science related subject matter from various sources, however (despite studying bachelors in biology) I am not a doctor or an expert in this area. The evidence for this has been obtained from reliable sources.
When someone finds out that I'm diabetic the first question they ask is: 'Type 1 or Type 2?' with my response being type 1. Following this they often attempt to console me with comments like 'oh right so it wasn't your fault' or 'so you inherited it?'. Sometimes I can feel quite offended when I hear this, with a lot of people assuming that type 1 is primarily uncontrollably inherited and type 2 being a disease that is purely due to lifestyle, when this isn't true.
Many consider the rise in the number of type-2 diabetics as a result of an increase in seditary and glutinous lifestyle throughout the population i.e. less exercise and higher food consumption. Although there is a degree of truth to this, the whole truth may not have been as publicly explained.
The obesity epidemic which is thought to parallel the rise in diabetes helps predict that the number of diabetics will rise from 171million to 366 million in 2030! That's crazy numbers!

Despite having stated that type-2 diabetes has a strong genetic reliance, the mechanism by which this occurs still remains fairly elusive. However there are a number of gene candidates that contribute to a multifaceted genetic picture. Type-2 diabetes has a wealth of evidence to support its genetic origin, some argue, even more so than type-1 diabetes:

  1. Prevalence in varied ethnic groups: The prevalence of type-2 diabetes varies among populations from 2% among caucasians in Europe to 50% among Pima Indians in Arizona. The substantial variation amongst different ethnic groups is in support of the idea that genetic factors contribute to the predisposition.
  2. Aggregation amongst family: Despite families sharing environments and culture etc, familial aggregation shows strong evidence for genetic contribution. Especially considering that there is a 4-fold increased risk for type-2 diabetes in a sibling of a diabetic compared with the general population.
  3. Twins!: Twin studies reveal that there is a high consistency of mono zygote (same egg - same genes) diabetics as opposed to dizygote (2 separate eggs and therefore increase in different genes). These studies provide pretty compelling evidence of the genetic component of type-2.
  4. Inheritance of diabetic-like traits: insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion are known to deteriorate in type -2 diabetes. However both of these 'traits' are known to be present in non-diabetic but genetically identical twins born from a diabetic parent or descendant from a diabetic.
Main source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1526773/

Lots of people will have some thought on particular disease's and possibly even attribute some individual blame, but no one really deserves disease… it just happens! The most important thing is dealing with the aftermath!! (Wow…can't believe I'm going to leave that last bit in)

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Thursday, 6 March 2014


Often I use diabetes as a reason to get out of things and although most of the time I use it as a joke (Like for example, sometimes if someone is passing me a flyer in the street that I don't want, I'll speed up my walk and just say 'Diabetes!' as if that's somehow a valid reason for not taking paper from someone). Sometimes I think it can get in the way, so when my cousin asked me to enter a pancake eating contest, which I initially really wanted to go to, I thought to myself that i've got too much work, I've got deadlines looming and most importantly how am I gonna count all those carbs!!??
I told her that I couldn't but after realising how boring I am and some persistence from her I said yes and gave it a go. I'm not the most adventurous person and that's probably because I like my comfort zone, (here comes the cliche) but I've come to realise how mundane days can be if you don't take chances or opportunities when they come to you. This probably wasn't the most adventurous thing, but its a start.

I came into the contest very confidently and with tactics in tow. The contest wan't timed, but more of a volume challenge i.e. the person who eats the most, wins! My tactic was simple, eat as much as I can as fast as I can so that I don't get too full too quickly. This tactic would have worked if the chef wasn't making just 1 at a time to begin with. However after asking the waitress to make more than one at a time, I managed to pick up the pace.

Things started quite civilised. I used a knife and fork to carve out about a quarter of each pancake for each mouthful. After 3 pancakes, I noticed a couple of children attempting to eat their body weight in cooked batter, which inspired me to go as fast as I could.

Every now and then I would glance over to these 2 little nerds (kettle pot black) to see how many pancakes they stuffed and they would just stare at me while I ate. They were clearly trying to psych me out but I just stared right back while shovelling sugary pancakes into my mouth. The more I ate the less they seemed to enjoy themselves and for some reason that gave me a little bit of a buzz. There's something about crushing the dream of a child that just gave me a rush. I tried to chase this feeling and as I was pretty sure I was ahead I felt better than ever!

The kids gave up, as I expected and as I sarcastically waved goodbye. As their parents left, they just casually mentioned that I should give up as their little turds had eaten 13 each!!
I got a bit desperate and had to stuff as many pancakes in as fast as possible as I started to fill up.

But sadly I couldn't get past 11 and a half and I had to give up. 

I couldn't crush the dreams of those annoying kids but at least I gave it my best.
I suppose the moral (as there is for many of my stories) is children are not the future… best them wherever possible and maybe try new things or whatever.

Do you dislike toddlers or even nerds (i.e. me)?

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