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Jenny Hirst, who helped found and has

run the Independent Diabetes Trust (IDDT)

for over 20 years, was made an MBE in

the Queen's Birthday Honours. Hirst has

worked tirelessly for people with diabetes

since her daughter was diagnosed with

Type 1 diabetes nearly 40 years ago.

Speaking after the announcement, which

acknowledges the enormous contribution

that Hirst has made to charity and public

health, she said, "Words can hardly

describe how honoured I am. I never

thought that an ordinary person like me,

who has just been helping people with

diabetes, would be recognised in this

way. I'm more thrilled about what this

Award means to the charity, its staff and

all its members, than for me personally.

MBE FOR JENNY HIRST, IDDT

Although the charity was my 'brain-child'

along with my Co-Chair Dr Matt Kiln, it

is the dedicated staff and Trustees who

have motivated and helped me over the

past 20 years. I would like to recognise

their support at this time of celebration."

Hirst will receive her award at

Buckingham Palace and will celebrate

with her staff and Trustees in Northampton

at the charity's Headquarters. IDDT,

an International charity, is based in

Northampton has more than 35,000

members. The charity provides

information booklets and other support,

such as collecting unwanted insulin, to

help adults and children in developing

countries who cannot afford the insulin

they need for survival.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne

have identified a way that a rotavirus

infection, often referred to as 'stomach

flu', could contribute to the development

of Type 1 diabetes. The discovery lends

more weight to the possibility that certain

viral infections could act as triggers for the

condition in those already at risk.

It is already known that in mice that

are genetically prone to developing Type

1, infection with rotavirus can speed up

the onset of the condition. In humans, a

combination of a genetic predisposition

and an infection from certain viruses

(including enteroviruses like the Coxsackie

B virus and rotavirus) is thought to

increase a person's risk for type 1 and

JDRF researchers are trying to find out

more about how this process could work.

The researchers found that exposure

to rotavirus seemed to overstimulate the

immune system, so that in addition to

causing the body's normal response to

ROTOVIRUS STOMACH FLU AND TYPE 1

infection, it also triggered an 'autoimmune'

response resulting in destruction of

insulin-producing beta cells by a subset

of T cells. The researchers suggest future

research could offer insights into the

development of type 1 diabetes, saying

that 'the role of type 1 interferon signalling

in diabetes acceleration following rotavirus

infection deserves further analysis.'

Helen Albert, acting Head of Research

Communication at JDRF, comments,

"This work adds weight to claims of a link

between infection with certain viruses and

development of Type 1. Research such as

this will help scientists understand more

about how the condition develops and the

best ways to prevent it developing in the

first place."

The research was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

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