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Cellular Markers Of Aging Could Reveal How Insulin-producing Cells Begin To Fail In Type 2 Diabetes

Cellular markers of aging could reveal how insulin-producing cells begin to fail in type 2 diabetes

Cellular markers of aging could reveal how insulin-producing cells begin to fail in type 2 diabetes

Diabetes researchers have puzzled for decades about why insulin-producing beta cells in one pancreatic islet often look and behave quite differently than their counterparts in the same islet or in nearby islets. Using newly identified cellular markers of aging, Joslin Diabetes Center scientists now have shown that this diversity may be driven at least in part by differently aged beta cell populations within the pancreas.
Additionally, the Joslin team demonstrated that the aging of beta cells, with associated losses of their insulin secretion, can be accelerated by insulin resistance, a condition that can lead toward type 2 diabetes.
"This research opens up an entirely new set of questions about the development of type 2 diabetes," says Susan Bonner-Weir, a Joslin Senior Investigator and corresponding author on a paper describing the work in the journal Cell Metabolism. The disease worsens over time as beta cells die off or perform less effectively, for reasons that are not well understood.
Scientists have long known that beta cells change significantly over time, says Bonner-Weir, who is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Back in 2011, for example, her lab demonstrated that beta cells in newborn rats are immature cells with very different gene expression and function than adult beta cells.
Her lab's most recent work, led by HMS Instructor Cristina Aguayo-Mazzucato, started instead with very old mice, created for another experiment, whose beta cells emitted fluorescent signals. The investigators could compare the insulin-producing beta cells from the Continue reading

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Diabetes in Movies

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Diabetes in Movies

While testing blood sugar, having lows, and shooting insulin might be daily life for you, it’s an action-escalating, drama-creating plot device for the writers and directors of Hollywood. You’ve probably caught at least one TV episode or movie scene about diabetes that got your eyes rolling, but you’ll be happy to know it isn’t all bad (okay, a lot of it is really bad though). You probably won’t be directing anyone to Netflix if diabetes education is your goal, but it’s still helpful to know what kind of info people are getting about your condition from their screens.
The good
Nothing seems to capture the true day-to-day struggle with diabetes, but some of the scripted portrayals at least hit some of the major points.
The Godfather III (1972) might not be the best installment in the trilogy, but Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) does offer a pretty convincing portrayal of what living with diabetes is like. As the mobster weakens in his old age, he is diagnosed with diabetes and offers realistic symptoms like weakened eyesight and a moment where he has a low, has to sit down for a minute, and requests some orange juice or candy. Maybe you haven’t ever been a part of a crime family, but yeah, you’ve probably had to ask someone to bring you some juice before. He even explains at one point that stress affects his numbers. Maybe once Corleone left his life of crime he should have become a diabetes advocate? The portrayal is probably decently realistic because the late Godfather trilogy screenwriter, Mario Puzo, had diabetes.
Diabetes doesn’t end well for every chara Continue reading

Stabilizing diabetes: Old drug could help millions

Stabilizing diabetes: Old drug could help millions

Dr. Denise L. Faustman is testing a cheap “penny vaccine” that could bring hope to millions struggling with Type 1 diabetes.
The researcher from Massachusetts General Hospital said BCG — a vaccine used against tuberculosis that’s been around since 1921 — could reverse the deadly effects of the disease.
“This offers hope for the first time that people with the long-standing disease will have long-term benefits,” Faustman told the Herald last night. “And to think it’s due to a cheap, 100-year-old generic drug.”
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Diabetes: can you really eat to beat it?

Diabetes: can you really eat to beat it?

Just over four years ago, my GP gave me unwelcome news: I had type 2 diabetes. I was shocked. I didn’t match the stereotypical patient profile of an overweight couch potato. Aged 59, I was thin, fit and 5ft 7in tall, drank frugally, went running every week and weighed just 10st 7lb. The outlook was not good, with the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blindness, amputations and a 36% greater chance of dying early. I thought, this can’t be happening to me; there has to be a way through. I started trawling the web for information and unearthed a report about a research trial at Newcastle University, led by Professor Roy Taylor.
The results suggested you could reverse type 2 with a daily 800-calorie diet for eight weeks, depending on how quickly and how much weight you need to lose. Taylor’s team discovered that type 2 is caused by fat clogging up the pancreas, preventing it from producing sufficient insulin to control blood sugar level. They calculated you need to reduce your pre-diagnosis body weight by a sixth to starve your body into using up the rogue fat lodged in your pancreas and allow it to function normally. “The body does not like any fat lying around in the pancreas, so it consumes that first,” says Taylor. The daily 800-calorie diet comprises either three 200g liquid food supplements of soups and shakes, and 200g of non-starchy vegetables or the tastier 800g equivalent of calorie-shy meals you measure out yourself, plus 2-3 litres of water.
It sounded tough, but what could I lose? I chose the supplement route. It was like a leap in the dark – I’d always Continue reading

How to Lose Weight and Prevent Diabetes Before It’s Too Late

How to Lose Weight and Prevent Diabetes Before It’s Too Late

Weight loss expert and digestive health surgeon Bipan Chand, MD, has devoted his career to treating obese patients, many of whom are diabetic or at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We asked Dr. Chand to explain why weight loss is important to preventing type 2 diabetes and to share the best strategies for losing weight.
In the United States, type 2 diabetes is predominantly related to obesity. So someone who is obese and is trying to control a prediabetic condition should focus on weight loss.
With excess fat, especially around the waist, the body has greater difficulty processing sugar and becomes resistant to insulin. As that happens, the level of sugar in the blood rises.
Someone whose blood sugar level is higher than normal (>100) but not too high is said to have prediabetes. That fasting blood sugar level is a snapshot of how your body is processing sugar at that one time. It’s a reasonable screening tool, but obesity is a more important factor.
An increasing Body Mass Index and growing waist size are better predictors of prediabetes. Insulin resistance and diabetes develop over years. Someone with a family history of diabetes and a high BMI for many years probably already has impaired pancreas function. So they may have had diabetes three to five years before it is diagnosed.
Taking action
Each January, many people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. That is the wrong idea. You should not make a resolution. You should make a decision to review your health, work to improve it and commit to making long-term changes.
The best strategy to prevent diabe Continue reading

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