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B. The Facts about Type 1 Diabetes

Narrator: This is Science Today. In terms of its cost to society, diabetes ranks fourth among diseases. Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone of the Diabetes Center at the University of California, San Francisco, says Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity, is the most common but Type 1, also known as Juvenile diabetes, is on the rise.

Bluestone: This is a disease of the immune system, where your T-cells, which are normally designed to recognize bacteria, viruses, instead are attacking your own body - in this case, the insulin-producing cells in the body.

Narrator: About one million people are affected by Type 1 diabetes - mostly kids between the ages of five and 20. Bluestone says researchers are not quite sure why it's on the rise.

Bluestone: But it's very clear that auto-immune diseases in general and diabetes in particular seems to be growing in First World countries like our own - not in Third World countries interestingly. It's growing to really quite significant proportions and I think a lot of work still needs to be done to figure out what are the precipitating events that cause that.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.