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How Dogs Can Sniff Out Diabetes

How dogs can sniff out diabetes

How dogs can sniff out diabetes

A chemical found in our breath can be used as a warning sign for dangerously-low blood sugar levels in patients with type 1 diabetes - and dogs can be trained to detect it.
A golden Labrador called Magic, from Cambridge, has been trained by charity Medical Detection Dogs to detect when his owner Claire Pesterfield's blood sugar levels fall to potentially dangerous levels.
Hypoglycaemia – low blood sugar – can cause problems such as shakiness, disorientation and fatigue. If the patient does not receive a sugar boost in time, it can additionally cause seizures and lead to unconsciousness. In some people with diabetes, these episodes can occur suddenly with little warning.
Following on from reports of dogs alerting owners to blood glucose changes, researchers at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, wanted to study whether certain naturally-occurring chemicals in exhaled breath might change when glucose levels were low.
In a preliminary study to test this hypothesis, the scientists gradually lowered blood sugar levels under controlled conditions in eight women, all with type 1 diabetes. They then used mass spectrometry – which looks for chemical signatures – to detect the presence of these chemicals.
This revealed levels of the chemical isoprene rose significantly at hypoglycaemia – in some cases almost doubling. Dogs may be sensitive to the presence of isoprene, and the researchers suggest it may be possible to develop new detectors that identify elevated levels of isoprene in patients at risk.
"Low blood sugar is an everyda Continue reading

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DTC eligibility for taxpayers with Type 1 diabetes

DTC eligibility for taxpayers with Type 1 diabetes

The CRA has been finding people living with Type 1 diabetes ineligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), on the basis that one of the requirements is you need 14 hours of life-sustaining therapy per week, on average, to qualify.
An internal CRA clarification letter from May said adult diabetics don’t require that much time, explaining that 14 hours per week to manage insulin therapy is only required in “exceptional circumstances.”
The agency faced criticism from diabetes support groups, disability advocates and opposition parties for denying the DTC claims of people with Type 1 diabetes who had previously qualified. Though it says it never changed the eligibility criteria, CRA announced earlier this month that it would revert to the pre-May clarification letter.
The agency stated it would review all applications that had been refused since May 2017. Applicants are not required to present new or additional information, unless the CRA requests that they do so.
In reality, the number of therapy hours for people living with Type 1 diabetes varies based on the person’s condition. Even with CRA returning to its original clarification, it’s likely that very few cases will satisfy the criteria of 14 hours. To address this, Finance Canada would need to change the legislation.
Read: All about the disability tax credit
For now, it’s important to understand what qualifies as essential therapy for people with Type 1 diabetes under the act.
Therapy rules
First, to be eligible for the DTC, a taxpayer’s impairment must be severe and prolonged (i.e., it must last longer tha Continue reading

Artificial sweeteners could increase risk of diabetes in just two weeks

Artificial sweeteners could increase risk of diabetes in just two weeks

Using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar could increase the risk of diabetes in just two weeks, new research suggests.
The study shows that the supplements can change the body’s response to glucose, heightening the risk of the condition which is suffered by almost 4 million Britons.
Previous studies have linked high intake of sweeteners to a greater risk of diabetes,
The new research, presented at a conference in Lisbon, investigated the mechanisms behind the association.
This study, led by the Adelaide Medical School in Australia, involved 27 healthy people who were either given sweeteners - the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink, or an inactive placebo.
At the end of two weeks, tests were carried out examining levels of glucose absorption, blood glucose, insulin and gut peptides.
The team found that those given supplements such as sucralose - which is commonly marketed as Splenda - saw a heightened response across all fronts.
None of these measures were altered in the volunteers who were given a placebo.
The study determined that just two weeks of sweeteners was enough to make a difference.
Lead author Prof Richard Young said: "This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body's control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to developing type 2 diabetes."
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal.
Previous r Continue reading

The dogs that smell breath to monitor diabetes

The dogs that smell breath to monitor diabetes

Guide dogs stop you bumping into things, assistance dogs can pull your clothes out of the washing machine. But medical detection dogs can keep you alive.
These dogs have been specially trained to smell several cancer types. Others can gauge the blood sugar levels in diabetics, warn allergic owners away from peanuts, or detect when people with narcolepsy are about to fall asleep.
Their sense of smell is so strong that they can smell their owner's breath from another room of the house, and can even be on guard from the side of a football pitch or dance floor.
"I used to stay awake, or wake up every hour overnight, testing my blood sugars 20 times a day," says Claire Moon, who has type 1 diabetes. She used to fear not waking up in the morning because her body has stopped giving warning signs - such as dizziness or blurred vision - when her blood sugar dips dangerously low.
It's a condition referred to as "brittle", and it means that she does not know when she needs to eat something sugary to correct the situation - known as a "hypo". It means she's been constantly under threat of a loss of reasoning and maybe experiencing a seizure or a rapid fall into a diabetic coma. Her quality of life was very poor as a result, she says.
But then seven months ago, Moon, a paediatrician from Buckinghamshire, received a medical detection dog. When Magic smells his owner's breath, he knows when her glucose levels go below 4.5 on the scale, and he alerts his new owner by nudging, licking or bringing her diabetes testing kit.
Moon then tests her blood and, if he's right, has to reward the dog b Continue reading

Artificial sweeteners may increase risk of type two diabetes, finds study

Artificial sweeteners may increase risk of type two diabetes, finds study

INDYPULSE
Artificial sweeteners may increase risk of type two diabetes, finds study
Consuming artificial sweeteners might raise the risk of developing type two diabetes, new research suggests.
The study was conducted by professors at the University of Adelaide in Australia and looked at whether ingesting significant amounts of artificial sweeteners would affect the body’s ability to control glucose levels in the blood.
They recruited 27 healthy participants and gave some of them capsules containing artificial sweeteners, an amount equivalent to five cans of diet drinks.
The capsules contained sucralose and acesulfame K and had to be taken three times a day for two weeks.
The others took placebo capsules.
Once the study was over, tests were taken which showed that those who were consuming artificial sweeteners had damaged their body’s ability to manage glucose, which could subsequently lead to developing type two diabetes in the long run.
Participants’ blood sugar levels were obviously higher after consuming the sweeteners, whereas their gut peptides, which prevent the surge of blood glucose levels after eating and drinking, were impaired.
“This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” the study’s authors said, whose findings were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Por Continue reading

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