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Diabetes, Obesity And Brain Health

Diabetes, Obesity and Brain Health

Diabetes, Obesity and Brain Health

Over the past several years I have been writing about the detrimental effects of type 2 diabetes on brain health. For example, we’ve seen an extensive amount of research published that shows a strong relationship between even subtle elevations of blood sugar and future risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, we know that elevation of blood sugar is related to a reduction in size of the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus. As it turns out, this reduction is correlated with both a decline in cognitive function as well as mood disorders.
In a new study, just published in the journal Diabetalogia (dedicated to reporting on issues related to diabetes), researchers studied 100 individuals who were in the early stages of type 2 diabetes. The group was divided in half, with 50 patients being overweight and the other 50 having normal weight. The subjects were all studied with MRI scans of their brains, as well as various tests of memory, planning, and reaction times. All of the results were compared to 50 healthy control subjects who did not have diabetes.
The results of this study were really quite telling. The diabetic patients demonstrated significant brain changes in multiple areas, in both the deep white matter as well as in the brain’s cortex. Furthermore, and I think most importantly, the detrimental brain changes were worse in the diabetics who were overweight.
This study again reinforces the fact that our lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, which profoundly influenced both our risk for type 2 diabetes as well as weight gain, are far more than cosme Continue reading

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Research Roundup: Studying deadly cancers in dogs, low calorie diet and type 2 diabetes and more!

Research Roundup: Studying deadly cancers in dogs, low calorie diet and type 2 diabetes and more!

Welcome to this week’s Research Roundup. These Friday posts aim to inform our readers about the many stories that relate to animal research each week. Do you have an animal research story we should include in next week’s Research Roundup? You can send it to us via our Facebook page or through the contact form on the website.
“Researchers are turning to the family dog to find clues in hopes to find a cure for one of the deadliest forms of cancer.” Glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer, killed over 15,000 people in 2015 and also affects dogs. Researchers say that microscopic evaluation of the cancers in dogs and humans are very similar. Roel Verhaak, a biologist and professor at Jackson Labs, says the goal of this research is to find anything, “..to prolong life expectancy and ultimately a cure.” He and his team hope to find specific areas in the cells of the donated cancer tumors from dogs that are abnormal and compare them to abnormalities in the human form of the cancer. Once this is clear, focus on faster ways to diagnose the cancer and more effective treatments can be developed.
Jumping insects inspire innovative robots. Click beetles are a unique type of insect that can launch itself into the air after falling on its back, without the use of its legs. A hinge connecting the head and thorax of the insect can bend and snap rapidly in the opposite direction, which propels the insect into the air. Scientists are currently applying these mechanics to new types of robots. The ability to jump without legs would allow the machines to easily maneuver through disaster z Continue reading

Coconut palm sugar: Can people with diabetes eat it?

Coconut palm sugar: Can people with diabetes eat it?

In order to manage their condition, people with diabetes need to monitor their sugar intake. A good way of doing this might be by choosing a natural sweetener option. One of the more popular choices is coconut palm sugar.
In this article, we look at the effect coconut palm sugar has on blood sugar (glucose) levels and whether it may be healthful for people with diabetes.
Contents of this article:
What is diabetes?
People with diabetes have bodies that do not produce enough insulin or use insulin correctly.
Insulin is the hormone needed to help the body to normalize blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are a measurement of the amount of sugar in the bloodstream.
Most foods contain sugar. The body stores the sugar and transports it through the bloodstream to the cells, which use it as energy.
When insulin is not working properly, sugar cannot enter cells, and they are unable to produce as much energy. When the cells of the body cannot process sugar, diabetes occurs.
What is coconut palm sugar?
Coconut palm sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm. The sugar is extracted from the palm by heating it until the moisture evaporates. After processing, the sugar has a caramel color and tastes like brown sugar, making it an easy substitution in any recipe.
Coconut palm sugar is considered a healthier option for people with diabetes because it contains less pure fructose than other sweeteners.
The digestive tract does not absorb fructose as it does other sugars, which means that the excess fructose finds its way to the liver. Too much fructose in the liver can lead to a host o Continue reading

Is agave syrup the best sweetener for diabetes?

Is agave syrup the best sweetener for diabetes?

Some natural health advocates suggest that people with diabetes can substitute agave syrup for table sugar and other traditional sweeteners. For those with a sweet tooth, the promise of a better sweetener might seem too good to be true.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what it is. Agave is not a good alternative sweetener for people with diabetes.
Is agave a good alternative sweetener?
Agave is a group of succulent plants that grow in warm climates, particularly the southwestern United States and Mexico.
Although it can be used as a sweetener, blue agave is high in carbohydrates, and produces nectar that is high in a type of sugar called fructose.
Some people in the alternative health community have turned to agave as a potential alternative to table sugar and other sweeteners. Support for agave stems from it being a vegan sweetener as well as its glycemic index (GI).
The higher a food's GI, the more it increases levels of glucose in the blood. Agave boasts a lower GI than most other sweeteners, which means that it is less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
GI, however, is not the only - or the best - way to assess whether a food is healthful for people with diabetes. A 2014 study suggests that low-GI foods may not improve how the body responds to insulin.
For people already eating a healthful diet, the study also found that low-GI foods produced no improvements in cardiovascular health risk factors, such as levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood.
Agave contains higher levels of fructose than table sugar and most other sweeteners. The body releases less insulin in r Continue reading

How to Avoid 5 Serious Diabetes Complications

How to Avoid 5 Serious Diabetes Complications

A diabetes diagnosis comes with a host of worries beyond controlling blood sugar levels and watching your diet. Potential diabetes complications include heart trouble, blindness, nerve damage, foot problems and kidney failure. Experts explain what people with diabetes can do to sidestep these risks...
Even if you’re the healthiest of diabetics, you’re probably still worried about the long-term complications of the metabolic disease.
“The major concern with diabetes is that it really affects every organ in the body,” says Christopher Gibbons, MD, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Neuropathy Clinic at Joslin Diabetes Center, a Harvard-affiliated research and clinical care center.
That includes eyes, heart, kidneys and toes – people with diabetes face higher risk of blindness, nerve damage, foot amputations from infections, cardiovascular disease and kidney failure.
But such complications aren’t inevitable, top endocrinologists say. People with diabetes can do a lot to prevent or at least delay them.
Here are the top five diabetes complications to watch for and steps you can take to avoid them.
Diabetes Complications #1: Heart Disease
People with diabetes face double the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. About 2 out of 3 die from heart disease, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
That’s because diabetes affects cholesterol levels, raising levels of LDL, or bad, cholesterol and lowering HDL, or good, cholesterol. That increases a diabetic’s risk of atherosclerosis, caused when arteries are Continue reading

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