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Diabetic distinction debated.

A rare form of diabetes, which mainly strikes adolescents in developing tropical nations, has sparked a controversy among medical researchers. In 1985, the World Health Organization officially recognized this disease, called malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus (MRDM), as distinct from Type I and Type II diabetes. But Frances Lester of the Montreal General Hospital, who has studied thousands of diabetics in Ethiopia, contends the distinction should be removed.

Most researchers studying MRDM think malnutrition during childhood and toxic foods such as cassava -- a cyanide-rich root -- cause the disease, which differs subtly from other forms of diabetes. Lester argues that the malnutrition is a result, not a cause, of most MRDM cases. Any clinical differences between MRDM and Type I diabetes, she says, arise from the patients' emaciated state.
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Title Annotation:whether malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus is really a distinct form of the disease
Author:Travis, John
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 6, 1991
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