In Europe and sub-Europe, type 1 diabetes prevalence was also significantly associated with Biological State Index and life expectancy.

In 2 Asian groups, the World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia region (SEARO) and the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), the researchers found slightly negative correlations between type 1 diabetes prevalence rate and Biological State Index and type 1 diabetes prevalence rate and life expectancy, respectively.

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In 4 other WHO regions, Africa (AFRO), the Americas (AMRO), Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO), and the Western Pacific (WPRO), associations between type 1 diabetes prevalence rate and both Biological State Index and life expectancy were insignificant.

“Not every country has access to good health care, or freely available insulin,” You stated. “In a number of poor countries, such as in Africa, the life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes is much lower than in the Western world. This means more people are dying prematurely, with less opportunity to produce offspring who will carry those genes from generation to generation.”

Type 1 diabetes prevalence rate was also associated with Biological State Index and newborn life expectancy in groupings that included countries with similar cultures and different cultures, with similar economy status, and with the heterogeneous region and the homogeneous area.

“Natural selection is one of the major evolutionary forces that inform changes in our genes, across populations and over generations,” noted Dr Henneberg.

“This is the first major disease we have shown that is accumulating due to a relaxation of natural selection over time. It’s unlikely this situation will ever be reversed, meaning that in order to overcome the problems associated with type 1 diabetes for our population, some form of gene therapy to repair the faulty genes may need to be considered,” he said in the release.

The researchers noted that the study was limited in scope to type 1 diabetes and the findings have no relevance for type 2 diabetes.


  1. You W-P, Henneberg M. Type 1 diabetes prevalence increasing globally and regionally: the role of natural selection and life expectancy at birth. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2016. doi:10.1136/bmjdrc-2015-000161.