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Artificial Sweeteners May Promote Diabetes, Claim Scientists

Artificial sweeteners may promote diabetes, claim scientists

Artificial sweeteners may promote diabetes, claim scientists

Artificial sweeteners may contribute to soaring levels of diabetes, according to a controversial study that suggests the additives could exacerbate the problem they are meant to tackle.
Researchers in Israel found that artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks and other foods can disrupt healthy microbes that live in the gut, leading to higher blood sugar levels – an early sign of diabetes.
Sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame and sucralose are widespread in western diets and are often used to cut calories or prevent tooth decay. The additives are so common that scientists behind the latest study called for a reassessment of the “massive usage” of the chemicals.
“Our findings suggest that non-caloric artificial sweeteners may have directly contributed to enhancing the exact epidemic that they themselves were intended to fight,” the authors write in the journal Nature.
Eran Elinav, a senior author on the study at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, said that while the evidence against the sweeteners was too weak to change health policies, he had decided to give them up.
But the study has left many experts unconvinced. The findings draw largely on tests of just one sweetener in mice, raising doubts about their relevance for people, and to other sweeteners. Large studies in humans have found that sugar substitutes can help people maintain a healthy weight and protect against diabetes.
“This new report must be viewed very cautiously,” said Stephen O’Rahilly, director of the Metabolic Diseases Unit at Cambridge University, “as it mostly reports fin Continue reading

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Two meals a day 'effective' to treat type 2 diabetes

Two meals a day 'effective' to treat type 2 diabetes

Only eating breakfast and lunch may be more effective at managing type 2 diabetes than eating smaller, more regular meals, scientists say.
Researchers in Prague fed two groups of 27 people the same calorie diet spread over two or six meals a day.
They found volunteers who ate two meals a day lost more weight than those who ate six, and their blood sugar dropped.
Experts said the study supported "existing evidence" that fewer, larger meals were the way forward.
Timing important?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin to function properly, or the body's cells don't react to insulin.
Since insulin controls the amount of sugar in the blood, this means blood sugar levels become too high.
Larger studies over longer periods of time will be needed to back up these findings before we would change adviceDr Richard Elliott, Diabetes UK
If untreated, it can lead to heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, light-sensitive eyes and kidney disease.
About 2.9 million people in the UK are affected by diabetes, 90% of whom have the type 2 form of the disease.
Current advice in the UK recommends three meals a day, with healthy snacks.
Scientists at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague divided a group of 54 volunteers aged 30 to 70 with type 2 diabetes into two groups of 27 people.
Volunteers were then given either a six-meal-a-day diet (A6) for 12 weeks followed by a two-meal day diet (B2), or vice versa.
The study compared two meals with six meals - as the latter accorded with current practice advice in the Czech Republic, Continue reading

Controlling Diabetes with a Skin Patch

Controlling Diabetes with a Skin Patch

A flexible tattoo senses glucose levels in sweat and delivers a drug as needed.
Attempting to free people with diabetes from frequent finger-pricks and drug injections, researchers have created an electronic skin patch that senses excess glucose in sweat and automatically administers drugs by heating up microneedles that penetrate the skin.
The prototype was developed by Dae-Hyeong Kim, assistant professor at Seoul National University and researchers at MC10, a flexible-electronics company in Lexington, Massachusetts. Two years ago the same group prototyped a patch aimed at Parkinson’s patients that diagnoses tremors and delivers drugs stored inside nanoparticles.
Other efforts to develop minimally invasive glucose monitoring have used ultrasound and optical measurements to detect glucose levels. And a variety of skin patches could deliver insulin or metformin, a popular drug used to treat type 2 diabetes. But the new prototype incorporates both detection and drug delivery in one device.
The patch, described in a paper in Nature Nanotechnology, is made of graphene studded with gold particles and contains sensors that detect humidity, glucose, pH, and temperature. The enzyme-based glucose sensor takes into account pH and temperature to improve the accuracy of the glucose measurements taken from sweat.
If the patch senses high glucose levels, heaters trigger microneedles to dissolve a coating and release the drug metformin just below the skin surface. “This is the first closed-loop epidermal system that has both monitoring and the noninvasive delivery of diabetes drugs di Continue reading

Google doodle celebrates 125th birthday of diabetes treatment pioneer Sir Frederick Banting

Google doodle celebrates 125th birthday of diabetes treatment pioneer Sir Frederick Banting

With its latest doodle, Google celebrates the 125th birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who together with Charles Best, pioneered the use of insulin in the treatment of diabetes.
The doodle features a bottle of insulin in place of the second letter 'o' in Google and also an image of the digestive tract, which was key to Banting's theory that the pancreas' secretion held the key to the treatment of diabetes. World Diabetes Day coincides with Banting's birthday on 14 November.
According to the NobelPrize.org, Banting approached Professor John Macleod at the University of Toronto, on a possible way of treating diabetes. He proposed to ligate the pancreative ducts to stop the flow of nourishment to the pancreas.
This in turn would cause the pancreas to degenerate and stop it from secreting digestive juices, enabling the extraction of an anti-diabetic secretion from the pancreas.
Although he did not really think much of his theory, Macleod gave him a laboratory with minimum equipment and 10 dogs and an assistant, medical student Charles Best. When the tests proved successful, the experiment was expanded and the extract was named 'insulin'.
During the testing process, the team discovered that there was no need to shrink the pancreas and that they could use whole fresh pancreas from adult animals.
In late 1921, biochemist Bertram Collip joined the team, to try and purify the insulin so that it can be tested on humans. To kick start treatment on humans, Banting and Best became the guinea pigs, testing the purified insulin on themselves.
In January 1922, 14-year-old boy Leonard Thomp Continue reading

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