WASHINGTON Researchers at Stanford University presented an environment-wide association study, a systematic examination of the contributions of hundreds of factors in the development of Type 2 diabetes, the National Institutes of Health reported.
The authors examined 226 separate environmental factors, including nutrition and exposure to bacteria, viruses, allergens and toxins. They found that certain factors, notably a pesticide derivative and the environmental contaminant PCB, were strongly associated with the development of diabetes. Other factors, including the nutrient beta-carotene, served a protective role.
NIH, which funded the first-of-its-kind study, appeared in the May 20 issue of PLoS One.
The authors acknowledge that many challenges remain, including the fact that, unlike the genome, "the environment is boundless."