Research reveals secrets of baffling but all-too-common type of diabetes

A mysterious form of diabetes known as malnutrition-related diabetes afflicts tens of millions of people in Asian and sub-Saharan African countries. Its victims — mainly thin and impoverished adolescents and young adults — rarely live more than a year after diagnosis. Their young age and thinness suggest type 1 diabetes (T1D), but insulin injections usually don’t help and can even cause death from low blood sugar. Nor do patients seem to have type 2 diabetes (T2D), which is typically associated with obesity. The disease was first described nearly 70 years ago, yet lack of research into the condition means that doctors are still unsure how to treat it.