The most adorable way to prevent Type 1 diabetes


While there are many ways to prevent and control Type 2 Diabetes, Type 1 diabetes had no known prevention system until now. A new Finnish study has thrown very encouraging results on a way to prevent the development of Type 1 diabetes, even for people with high hereditary risk. It is not diet. It is not exercise. It is not a miracle drug, a magic seed or an exotic fruit. It’s… puppies.

And before you think we’re just pet lovers, our source is the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, who published a Finnish study that claims there is a “significant link” between having a dog and lowering the risk of Type 1 Diabetes.

This is the first time that any such study has thrown this kind of results.

Dog-loving Finland was the scenario for a collaborative study carried out by the universities and university hospitals of Helsinki, Tampere, Oulu and Turku, along with the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL after its initials in Finnish), the University of Eastern Finland, the Folkhälsan Association and the Pirkanmaa Hospital District research unit.


Finnish researchers were already conducting a study on the prevention of early-onset diabetes, for which they had recruited children with a high hereditary risk of diabetes. More than 3000 children from the areas of Tampere and Oulu were controlled and studied as they spent time with pets such as cats, cows, horses, chickens and dogs. The study showed that only the children who had dogs as pets during their first year of life had a significantly lowered risk factor.

Research professor Suvi Virtanen of THL sang the praises of dogs as pets: "We can show from previous studies that exposure to dogs prevents airway inflammations. The evidence we have now gained points to a significant protective effect in relation to type 1 diabetes, too. The results are unique on a worldwide scale, and additional research evidence is still needed to support our findings."

We look forward to more research on diabetes prevention, and also to more adorable puppy photos.

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