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Diabetes In Your DNA? Scientists Zero In On The Genetic Signature Of Risk

Diabetes in your DNA? Scientists zero in on the genetic signature of risk

Diabetes in your DNA? Scientists zero in on the genetic signature of risk

Many different mutations linked to Type 2 diabetes all occur in key stretches of active DNA within pancreatic islet cells, interfering with the activity of a master regulator.
Why do some people get Type 2 diabetes, while others who live the same lifestyle never do?
For decades, scientists have tried to solve this mystery – and have found more than 80 tiny DNA differences that seem to raise the risk of the disease in some people, or protect others from the damagingly high levels of blood sugar that are its hallmark.
Disruption of regulatory grammar plays a significant role in the genetic risk of Type 2 diabetes.
But no single “Type 2 diabetes signature” has emerged from this search.
Now, a team of scientists has reported a discovery that might explain how multiple genetic flaws can lead to the same disease.
They’ve identified something that some of those diabetes-linked genetic defects have in common: they seem to change the way certain cells in the pancreas “read” their genes.
The discovery could eventually help lead to more personalized treatments for diabetes. But for now, it’s the first demonstration that many Type 2 diabetes-linked DNA changes have to do with the same DNA-reading molecule. Called Regulatory Factor X, or RFX, it’s a master regulator for a number of genes.
The team reporting the findings in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences comes from The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, the University of Michigan (U-M), National Institutes of Health, University of North Carolina, and the University of Southern Cal Continue reading

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Diabetes and Eye Health

Diabetes and Eye Health

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Although glucose is an important source of energy for the body’s cells, too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause damage in many parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys, blood vessels and the small blood vessels in the eyes.
When the blood vessels in the eye’s retina (the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) swell, leak or close off completely — or if abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina — it is called diabetic retinopathy.
People who are at greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy are those who have diabetes or poor blood sugar control, women who are pregnant, and people with high blood pressure, high blood lipids or both. Risk also increases with duration of diabetes. For example, one woman developed diabetic retinopathy after living with diabetes for 25 years. Also, people who are from certain ethnic groups, such as African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, are more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy. In fact, a new study confirms that diabetes is a top risk factor for vision loss among Hispanics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 90 percent of diabetes-related vision loss can be prevented, but early detection is key. People with diabetes should get critical, annual eye exams even before they have signs of vision loss. However, studies show that sixty percent of diabetics are not getting the exams their doctors re Continue reading

How to Avoid High Morning Blood Sugars

How to Avoid High Morning Blood Sugars

We’ve all been there before.
You wake up. Lay in bed for a few before getting your booty up to go kill the workday and accomplish big things. Check your blood sugar. 115 (6.3 mmol/l) stares back at you.
You smile to yourself: life is good.
Forty minutes later, when you sit down to eat, your CGM gives you a “high” notification, and you’re 180. You have eaten NOTHING. All you’ve done is prepare for the day and prepare food. Now you face the grim potential of chasing your sugars all day long.
What the…
This isn’t Dawn Phenomenon
Many people would blame this rise in blood sugar on dawn phenomenon (DP), which has a similar endpoint, but a different mechanism. Dawn phenomenon is the result of hormones releasing in the body in the early morning – predominantly growth hormone, cortisol, epinephrine, and glucagon – which in turn increase insulin resistance. The current basal insulin from the pump or long-acting injections is no longer enough, and blood sugars rise.
That hormonal surge happens around 2am-6am, with most of it occurring in the middle of the night. Let’s say you woke up at 8:30am and aren’t in the “DP zone.” It’s not DP. Then what?
Feet on the floor
The moment your feet touch the floor as you roll out of bed, you signal to your body, “Hey, I need energy for all the stuff I’m about to do!” Your body recognizes you haven’t eaten in lord knows how many hours. Your body is also lazy smart and wants the most easily accessible source of energy: the liver.
The liver is the Wal-Mart for stored energy, since it’s got everything you need. It Continue reading

New target emerging for treating diabetes-related blood vessel damage

New target emerging for treating diabetes-related blood vessel damage

A key enzyme that helps our proteins fold and function properly may also be a good therapeutic target to improve blood vessel health in diseases like diabetes and atherosclerosis, scientists say.
The enzyme is protein disulfide isomerase, or PDI, and scientists have increasing evidence that PDI is essential to the healthy remodeling of the endothelial cells that line our blood vessels and to the production of new blood vessels when we need them. This natural process is called angiogenesis, and it is impaired in diabetes.
"If we know the key mediator causing this, maybe we can target the molecule and treat the problem," says Dr. Masuko Ushio-Fukai, vascular biologist in the Vascular Biology Center at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.
Ushio-Fukai is principal investigator on a new $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further nail down the target and move toward "therapeutic" angiogenesis.
Her starting point is ROS, or reactive oxygen species. Many of us have heard about ROS, mostly that this natural byproduct of oxygen use is bad for us. But at normal levels, ROS has normal functions, which include working as a signaling molecule to promote angiogenesis. Under the stress of diabetes, endothelial cells produce too much ROS so angiogenesis doesn't work to repair the vasculature.
That's where PDI one comes in. Ushio-Fukai's team has shown that while normal levels of ROS activate PDI, high levels found in diabetes inactivate it.
The research team has evidence of ROS' relationship with one of PDI's major forms, PDIA1, in both normal and Continue reading

Carbohydrates and diabetes: What you need to know

Carbohydrates and diabetes: What you need to know

Carbohydrates are our main source of energy and provide important nutrients for good health and a healthy, balanced diet. All the carbohydrates you eat and drink are broken down into glucose. The type, and amount, you consume can make a difference to your blood glucose levels and diabetes management.
The two main types of carbohydrates
Starchy foods: these include bread, pasta, potatoes, yams, breakfast cereals and couscous.
Sugars: these can be divided into naturally occurring and added sugars:
Naturally occurring: sugars found in fruits (fructose) and some dairy foods (lactose).
Added sugars: found in sweets, chocolate, sugary drinks and desserts.
Fibre
This is another type of carbohydrate, which you can’t digest.
Insoluble fibre, such as is found in wholemeal bread, brown rice and wholegrain cereals, helps keep the digestive system healthy.
Soluble fibre, such as bananas, apples, carrots, potatoes, oats and barley, helps to keep your blood glucose and cholesterol under control.
Make sure you eat both types of fibre regularly. Good sources of fibre include fruit and veg, nuts and seeds, oats, wholegrain breads and pulses.
How much?
Everyone needs some carbohydrate every day. The actual amount that you need to eat will depend on your age, activity levels and the goals you – and your family – are trying to achieve, for example trying to lose weight, improve blood glucose levels or improve sports performance. The total amount of carbohydrate eaten will have the biggest effect on your glucose levels.
Insulin and carb counting
If you’re living with diabetes, and take i Continue reading

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