Tag Archives: diabetes

Is global warming causing the increase in the prevalence of diabetes?

diabetes climate change
This is not foot related, but it is diabetes related and science related.

I have no doubts what-so-ever about climate change and global warming. All the science I have seen is good; the consensus of the overwhelming majority of climate change scientists is good. The only dissent to this overwhelming consensus of experts are those with vested financial interests or those into conspiracy theories who latch on one piece of negative evidence (and ignore the 1000’s of good evidence) or latch onto one dissenting scientist (and ignore the 99.5% of the other scientists). How many more generations that we survive on this planet will depend on how seriously the politicians take this scientific evidence that it is happening.

What got me on that hobby horse rant was this study linked the increasing prevalence of diabetes to global warming. My first reaction was going to be negative, but it was published in a quite prestigious open access journal, so I went for a further read.

The authors did a pretty thorough job and were able to show that “Per 1°C increase in temperature, we found an overall increase in age-adjusted diabetes incidence of 0.314 per 1000.“. Fortunately, the authors did say that the nature of the study design means that they can not draw causality. In other words: correlation ≠ causation. It could be that the increasing prevalence of diabetes is causing the global warming and would be interesting to speculate as to a possible mechanism.

Or it could be that the correlation is spurious and there no true relationship, just like this correlation:

or even this one:

For more, see this website.

I have no doubt that global warming is happening and something needs to be done. I have no doubt about the increasing prevalence of diabetes and something needs to be done. I just not convinced of the relationship between them is any more than a correlation.

Blauw, L., Aziz, N., Tannemaat, M., Blauw, C., de Craen, A., Pijl, H., & Rensen, P. (2017). Diabetes incidence and glucose intolerance prevalence increase with higher outdoor temperature BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, 5 (1) DOI: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2016-000317

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