A PICTURE OF BLOOD TESTING EQUIPMENT AND NEEDLES

Thrity-One-Year-Old Claims Cure for Type 1 Diabetes

A PICTURE OF BLOOD TESTING EQUIPMENT AND NEEDLESGoogle alerts frequently pairs ‘diabetes’ and ‘cure’ together, but most of the time the words don’t capture my attention. Even when ‘type 1 diabetes’ and ‘cure’ make the same sub-heading, I’m not jumping up and down.

Yeah, yeah, heard it, bought the tee shirt, and no impact on my life so far…

But The Sun newspaper carried a story this week about a 31-year-old who claims to have cured his type 1 diabetes with diet and exercise alone. Again, that approach can achieve results with type 2 diabetes but it’s the first time I’ve seen it accredited to a cure for type 1.

Exercise and diet

Daniel Darkes’ regime isn’t for the faint-hearted. He eats a diet high in zinc (nuts, oily fish and veg) and runs more than sixty miles a week.

But before you dig out your trainers and start stock-piling the Brazil nuts, Daniel’s type 1 diabetes has some qualifications. He has a rare, abnormal gene, which doctors believe might have restarted his pancreas.

The 31-year-old from Daventry in Northants developed diabetes eight years ago and stopped giving himself insulin last January (2017)*. He started cutting down on insulin after experiencing hypos in 2016. He travelled to the US in March 2017 to find out more. Doctors ran further tests to find out what we happening to his body.

Brain sending messages to pancreas

He was put on a fasting diet and exercised at the same time. The medical staff noted his brain had begun sending new signals to his pancreas, and he hasn’t injected himself with insulin ever since.

Daniel told The Sun that doctors believed his abnormal gene combined with exercise is the reason he’s been able to cure himself—it’s as if the gene acts as a back-up immune system and has recharged his pancreas.

He is still being monitored at Northamptonshire General Hospital.

Abnormal genes

I’m fascinated by this story—as I suspect most type 1s will be. I’m no medical expert so my opinions are qualified, but I suspect that Daniel’s abnormal gene plays a huge part in his ‘cure’ (and this won’t be regarded as such until he reaches the two-years-without-insulin mark). It’s also interesting that the description of his diet (scant as it is) sounds like a low-carb diet.

The article said that Daniel’s case “could provide a revolutionary new approach to treating type 1 diabetes”, while Diabetes UK said it couldn’t speculate on whether Daniel had ‘cured’ his diabetes or not, and that there was “no clear cure for type 1 or type 2 diabetes”.

 

*DISCLAIMER – please, for the love of all things injectable, do not skip your insulin injections if you have type 1 diabetes…

 

13 thoughts on “Thrity-One-Year-Old Claims Cure for Type 1 Diabetes”

    1. Whoever wrote the article didn’t quote from a medical expert (such as someone from the team in the US who did the tests on this chap) which doesn’t add to the article’s credibility. But it’s always interesting to read these kinds of things.

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  1. Here’s my opinion on this “cure”. In my mind a cure is a fix for a disease which means I can go back to my pre condition life. So for this to qualify as a cure to me he needs to be able to go back to his prediabetic life with no relapse of the disease. That is a cure. Like a cure for small pox. Once you’ve had it you need not fear getting again. Yes I get the distinction of a vaccine in this case creating the “cure”. Calling this rare gene and the treatment used to stop injections of insulin a cure seems a little reaching. It’s more like a rare treatment if he can not go back to his prediabetic lifestyle. I do not have the time to spend running 60 miles a week and I’m not that big a fan of nuts and fish. I may have a narrow view of what qualifies as a cure but like you too many times have I heard this term used to spark more hope than it should.

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    1. ‘Cure’ was the word the article used – as journalists tend to do when writing these kinds of things. When I read it, I did an internal debate – fish, nuts and sixty miles a week versus injections, before coming down (slightly) on the side of injections. Sixty miles is a LOT.

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  2. Anecdotally there have been several reports of “honeymoon” being significantly prolonged, and a few cases where apparent Type 1s have still not gone onto insulin after a considerable time. Of course whether the pancreatic damage can be stopped (usually a low carb/keto diet is involved) or whether they are actually NOT Type 1 but some rarer genetic variant is unknown.

    Nevertheless interesting to see this in humans as opposed to those damn mice.

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    1. Yes, we quoted a case in our book where that happened and the youngster involved managed an almost two-year period. It is an interesting story and I hope to read more about it when the chap reaches the two year stage.

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      1. When you look far enough down the pathway, the beta cells are carried off either by acute inflammation in Type 1 or chronic inflammation in Type 2. ISTR someone at the ADA (Kahn?) long long ago suggesting this meant that the two disease processes were related, but further study showed different inflammatory cytokines were involved. So far it looks like a suitable diet can stop the beta cell loss in Type 2 but only slow it in Type 1 . . .so far . . .

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    1. Thanks Chris – the paper said: “At northern latitudes, people born in the spring are more likely to develop the disease than those born in the other seasons”. I was born in March.

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      1. So was 1/12 of the population so that may not mean much. (So was I but I am definitely not Type 1).

        Possibly this is the time of year when D3 is most depleted, especially nearer the poles. That may have a bearing on autoimmune and many other diseases, especially in people who avoid fat.

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