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Gut Molecule That Blocks ‘hunger Hormone’ May Spur New Treatments For Diabetes, Anorexia

Gut molecule that blocks ‘hunger hormone’ may spur new treatments for diabetes, anorexia

Gut molecule that blocks ‘hunger hormone’ may spur new treatments for diabetes, anorexia

Scientists once had high hopes that inhibiting a hormone named ghrelin would be the key to preventing obesity. Ghrelin didn’t turn out to be a weight loss panacea. But now, the discovery of the first molecule naturally made by the body that blocks ghrelin’s effects may open up new avenues for treating other conditions, including diabetes and anorexia. The finding may also explain some of the benefits of bariatric surgery, which shrinks or reroutes the stomach to control weight.
“It’s a very impressive piece of research,” says bariatric physician Carel le Roux of University College Dublin, who wasn’t connected to the study. “I think it will have significant clinical impact.”
When researchers discovered ghrelin about 20 years ago, they dubbed it the “hunger hormone” because early results suggested it ramped up our appetite. But studies soon found that thwarting the molecule didn’t curtail food consumption or promote weight loss in mice. Still, the hormone induces a variety of other positive changes in our metabolism. For example, ghrelin may bolster muscle strength, spurring scientists to test whether drugs that mimic the hormone can counteract the muscle deterioration and weakness often suffered by cancer patients.
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The new study didn’t start as a hunt for ghrelin-blocking compounds. Instead, a team headed by researchers at NGM Biopharmaceuticals in South Sa Continue reading

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Fitbit shares close up 10% on diabetes-monitoring partnership in new smartwatch

Fitbit shares close up 10% on diabetes-monitoring partnership in new smartwatch

Fitbit Inc.
Fitbit Inc. shares rallied Thursday to close at levels not seen since late January after the fitness-tracker company announced a collaboration with glucose-monitoring device company DexCom Inc. to allow diabetics to monitor their blood sugar through Fitbit’s new smartwatch.
Fitbit FIT, -1.34% shares surged to finish up 9.8% at $6.49, on more than double their 52-week average daily volume. Thursday marked the stock’s highest close since Jan. 27, after which the shares tumbled on disappointing holiday sales and a reduced outlook. Shares reached on intraday high of $6.78 in Thursday trading. Even with the jump, shares are still down 11% for the year while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.70% has gained 10%.
DexCom DXCM, +1.93% shares, however, closed down 5.2% at $71.23, but are still up 19% for the year.
Under the collaboration, Fitbit plans to make data from DexCom’s continuous glucose monitors available on its first smartwatch offering, the Ionic. Fitbit said they hope to have the feature available in 2018.
In a statement, Fitbit said the collaboration would allow it and Dexcom “to develop and market products to help people better manage their diabetes and get a more complete picture of their overall health with easy-to-use mobile tools.”
“While we see this as an interesting strategic relationship that could help uptake in 2018, key to the stock will be market acceptance of the Ionic amidst a crowded competitive field this holiday season,” said Stifel analyst Jim Duffy in a note Thursday. Duffy has a “hold” rating on Fitbit with a target price of $6.
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London trial to aggressively treat diabetes expanding

London trial to aggressively treat diabetes expanding

Aggressive treatment for Londoners with Type 2 diabetes has proven so popular, Lawson Health Research Institute will open up enrolment in a study for a third time since 2015.
Doctors usually start treating diabetics with a single medication, and only add other drugs and insulin if the disease worsens. That wait-and-see approach has been turned on its head in a study in which doctors treat patients aggressively from the start with two diabetes medications plus insulin at bedtime for three months.
“The goal of the . . . study is to take a proactive approach to help people early in the disease, normalize their blood sugars for a period of 12 weeks and then slow the progression of the disease and the need for additional medications,” says Dr. Irene Hramiak, Lawson researcher, endocrinologist and chief of the Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at St. Joseph’s Health Care London.
“We want to know if we can induce remission, for how long and whether it matters what combination of medications we use.”
Lawson is one of seven Canadian sites taking part in the REMIT study, led by the Population Health Research Institute, a joint institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences. A preliminary study produced remission in up to 40 per cent of patients for at least three months.
With a family history of Type 2 diabetes, Greg Ackland was diagnosed more than six years ago when he underwent an operation for a hernia. He developed a mild infection and, while being treated, his care team discovered his blood sugar levels were high.
Ackland started treatmen Continue reading

Parents 'unaware of type 1 diabetes symptoms'

Parents 'unaware of type 1 diabetes symptoms'

About 90% of parents are unaware of the four key symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children, a survey suggests.
The poll of 1,170 parents, for Diabetes UK, suggests many cases go undetected until the child becomes seriously ill.
In the BBC News website Scrubbing Up column, its chief executive says about 2,000 under-18s are diagnosed with the condition in the UK each year.
The main signs are tiredness, needing the toilet more, excessive thirst and weight loss.
An estimated 3.7 million people in the UK have diabetes.
Type 1 affects about 10% of them. It appears before the age of 40, usually in childhood. It is treated by daily insulin doses - taken either by injections or via an insulin pump - a healthy diet and regular physical activity
Type 2 develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly.
'Obvious'
Most of the parents surveyed knew thirstiness and tiredness were warning signs. But only 38% knew passing urine frequently was an indication of type 1 diabetes, while even fewer - 28% - linked weight loss with the condition.
The charity says this is one reason why a quarter of children with type 1 diabetes are only diagnosed once they are already seriously ill with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life threatening condition that needs immediate specialist treatment in hospital.
DKA happens when the body is unable to break down glucose because there is too little insulin, and it begins to break down fat instead.
This causes a by-product called ketones to build up. DKA can lead to children falling into a c Continue reading

Health-e News: Diabetes moves up the Killer Charts

Health-e News: Diabetes moves up the Killer Charts

Women are the most vulnerable to diseases that thrive when a person is too fat. But “fat shaming” individuals won’t help when junk food is cheaper than healthy food and health education is virtually non-existent. HEALTH-E’s Kerry Cullinan reports.
The new killer in town preys on older, overweight women from poor communities. It has been moving stealthily through the population, its influence under-estimated as our attention has been focused on HIV and tuberculosis.
But suddenly diabetes has emerged as the biggest killer of South African women and the second biggest killer overall, according to 2015 death statistics released recently by Statistics South Africa.
Seven years before this, diabetes was not even in the Top 10 killers. But now it is second only to TB.
Clinics are being overwhelmed by cases of diabetes and hypertension, both linked to bad diet and being too fat. By late last year, public health facilities were seeing more than 15,000 new cases of diabetes and close to 25,000 new hypertension cases every month, according to the health department’s District Health Information System (DHIS).
There are now over eight-million obese people in South Africa, far outnumbering the six-million South Africans living with HIV.
Many people on antiretroviral (ARV) medicine are also on medication for diabetes and hypertension, yet not enough research has been done on how all the medication interacts.
At one Cape Town clinic, three-quarters of the ARV patients were also on hypertension medicine, according to Professor Tolu Oni from the University of Cape Town.
KwaZulu-Nat Continue reading

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