Diabetes, diet and autonomic denervation

Med Hypotheses. 2010 Feb;74(2):232-4. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.09.036. Epub 2009 Oct 21.


Contemporary theories to explain the autoimmune aetiology of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) include the "hygiene", "accelerator" and "thrifty phenotype" hypotheses though none accounts for its natural history, or, epidemiology. Early-onset, T1DM is much more common in Western countries and shares features of its epidemiology with other major childhood diseases. In the autonomic denervation view, early-onset, T1DM results from injury to autonomic nerves supplying the pancreas through persistent physical efforts during defaecation in infancy. Pancreatic denervation results in loss of islets of Langerhans and reduced insulin production that may present in infancy or later life. Early introduction of cows milk and solids to the infants' diet cause increased rates of bowel problems whereas exclusive breastfeeding in non-Western countries, protects the infant from both constipation and diarrhoea. Other important Western diseases may result from the varying effects of injuries to nerves at different sites in the autonomic nervous system.

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diet*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Models, Biological*