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expert reaction to study on exposure to chemicals and type 2 diabetes cases in the elderly

A group of scientists publishing in The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health have examined the possible effects of certain chemicals on levels of diabetes in the elderly.


Prof. Richard Sharpe, endocrinologist & Group Leader of Male Reproductive Health Research Team, University of Edinburgh, said:

“As a scientist I would expect that if such bold claims were being made about exposure to chemicals and type 2 diabetes, there would be an unequivocal evidence base to support it, but this is clearly not the case. This is the sixth in a series of similar articles (all authored by Trasande), but this is the boldest yet in its claims. What exasperates me, is that the assertions are based largely on interpretation and presumption rather than robust data, which from a scientific perspective is not a solid foundation on which to make claims that are likely to cause public ‘shock and outrage’. Far more importantly, it diverts attention away from what we know to be the essential underlying cause of type 2 diabetes, and that is the prolonged over-consumption of calories with resulting obesity. In my opinion, both as a scientist and an endocrinologist, anything that might cause the public or politicians to divert their attention away from these ‘real causes’ is a huge disservice to science and society.“


Population attributable risks and costs of diabetogenic chemical exposures in the elderly’ by Trasande et al. published in The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health on Wednesday 26th October. 


Declared interests

Prof. Richard Sharpe: No conflicts of interest

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