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Lab-Grown Human Beta Cells Have Blocked Diabetes In Mice For Good

Lab-Grown Human Beta Cells Have Blocked Diabetes in Mice For Good

Lab-Grown Human Beta Cells Have Blocked Diabetes in Mice For Good

For the first time, researchers have converted induced pluripotent stem cells - cells capable of turning into any other type of cell - into fully functioning pancreatic beta cells, and when transplanted into diabetic mice, they blocked the disease altogether.
While the process has yet to be tested in humans, the results are exciting, because the hallmark of diabetes is a loss of functioning beta cells. If we can figure out how to transplant new, healthy beta cells into diabetes patients, we're looking at an actual cure, not just a treatment. "This discovery will enable us to produce potentially unlimited supplies of transplantable cells derived from a patient's own cells," lead researcher Ronald Evans told ABC News.
Diabetes, simply put, involves the loss of functioning beta cells in the pancreas: either these cells die (type I diabetes) or they don't do as they're told (type II diabetes), and in both cases, it leads to a lack of insulin to regulate the glucose levels in the blood. For a long time, scientists have been trying to replace these damaged or dead beta cells with healthy ones, and it finally looks as though they might have cracked it (in mice, at least).
When researchers at the Salk Institute in California transplanted these human beta cells into mice with type I diabetes, the diabetes symptoms disappeared. In this case, the scientists depressed the immune systems in the mice to prevent the human tissue from being rejected, but this would probably be unnecessary in human trials, if the beta cells could be developed from a patient's own stem cells.
The research bu Continue reading

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Gold-Doped Graphene Wrist Strap Could Help Manage Diabetes Without Needles

Gold-Doped Graphene Wrist Strap Could Help Manage Diabetes Without Needles

For many diabetics, life is managed one insulin-filled syringe after another. But if an new experimental wristband is further refined, they may be able to ditch the needles for good.
The device is a clear rubbery band embedded with sinuous traces of gold and gold-doped graphene drug delivery system and sensors. It senses changes in the wearer’s sweat and, on a wirelessly connected device like a smartphone, correlates that with changes in blood glucose level. When necessary, it delivers a dose of the drug metformin, which primarily suppresses glucose production in the liver, via an array of microneedles.
Details of the new device were published this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Since the changes in a person’s sweat lag glucose fluctuations by 15-20 minutes, the device is only suitable to daily ebbs and flows of insulin levels. At this point, it also cannot handle incidents of hypoglycemia, or when a person’s blood sugar levels are too low.
Here’s Philip E. Ross, writing for IEEE Spectrum:
The researchers proved that the system can normalize blood sugar in lab experiments on animals. However, though the device has administered metformin to human subjects, it didn’t supply very much of the drug.
Though the device’s capabilities are relatively limited, it has “moved the field closer to this coveted prize” of non-invasive glucose monitoring and management, wrote Richard Guy in the same issue of Nature.
The graphene-based wristband is the one of the latest applications of wearable electronics, a field I profiled in July 2014. Flexible sensors and dru Continue reading

Defeating Diabetes

Defeating Diabetes

Wow, wow, wow! Where do I even start? I love you all so much. The past 72 hours have been insane, overwhelming and SO WONDERFUL!
I have so many things going on that I want to share with you, and I have all year to blog for you guys, so I will get to everything. It’s such a hard decision to even know where to start though! Since diabetes is what has really brought in the most social media attention, I decided I am going to tell you a little bit about my story and my message to you all!
In February 2012, my world was flipped upside down by my diabetes diagnosis. For a while, I pretended that I didn’t have diabetes, hoping it would go away. That led to crazy blood sugars, of course, and a very sick, grumpy, and discouraged Sierra.
In the summer, my friend asked me to compete at Miss Magic Valley (our local pageant in Twin Falls, Idaho—the winner goes to Miss Idaho the following summer). To compete, I needed a platform and I chose diabetes. I was a very different, less confident girl then. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my platform, or how to make it happen. Needless to say, I did not win Miss Magic Valley 2012, and that was totally okay! Life went on, and I met new friends and learned a lot! In addition, I decided that if nothing else, I was going to take the best care of my diabetes as possible to show others that it was possible.
A couple months later, I competed in another pageant, and WON! However, I competed at Miss Idaho last summer and didn’t make top 11 (out of 18 girls). I came home, competed for Miss Magic Valley 2013, won, and have spent the last y Continue reading

Can Marijuana Improve Blood Sugars in Type 2 Diabetes?

Can Marijuana Improve Blood Sugars in Type 2 Diabetes?

Doctors visits, blood tests and more medications. This is the norm when you’re living with type 2 diabetes.
Life becomes a new routine of pricking your finger, worrying if the food you ate is going to spike your sugars and becoming nervous at every little tingle in your fingers and toes.
You have to deal with conflicting advice about what you should and shouldn’t eat (hint: diabetic foods are definitely not a good choice).
Is it any wonder that there is a higher risk of depression for type 2 diabetics. What if there was a natural solution that might help your mood and your blood sugar control?
What are Cannabinoids?
This plant goes by so many names, marijuana, maryjane, weed and is the most widely used illicit drug worldwide. What you might not know is that cannabis has a wide range of medicinal benefits.
To understand the medicinal uses of cannabis we first need to look at how it works in the body. Our body has it’s own cannabinoid receptors, called the Endocannabinoid system. The system helps regulate a number of processes including appetite, memory, mood, pain, metabolism, blood flow and cell immunity.
The active ingredients in cannabis are called cannabinoids, they can act on the endocannabinoid system which is where the medical benefits come from.
Cannabis contains around 80 different cannabinoids most of which have not been widely researched as yet. The most well known cannabinoid contained in cannabis is THC.
Cannabis: the old kid on the block
Actually, humans have been cultivating and using hemp (the plant the cannabis comes from) for over 10,000 years. Eviden Continue reading

Platypus Venom Could Be The Future of Diabetes Treatments

Platypus Venom Could Be The Future of Diabetes Treatments

Scientists have found a promising new lead for diabetes treatments in perhaps the unlikeliest of places: the venom of the Australian 'duck-billed' platypus.
The platypus – along with its compatriot, the echidna – are the world's only surviving monotremes, which means they're egg-laying mammals. But what also sets these animals apart is they've evolved to produce a hormone variant, and it's one that could help us to control blood sugar levels more effectively.
The hormone, called glucagon-like peptide–1 (GLP–1), is also produced in humans and other animals. GLP–1 is secreted in the gut, where it stimulates the pancreas to release insulin to lower high glucose levels.
The only problem with this system, according to Australian researchers led by the University of Adelaide and Flinders University, is that human GLP–1 usually breaks down very quickly, degrading in the body in a matter of minutes.
This means, in the case of people with type 2 diabetes, the short burst of insulin triggered by the hormone isn't enough to sustain lower blood sugar levels, which is why some type 2 diabetics eventually develop a dependence on medications or insulin-based treatments.
But not all GLP–1 hormones are created equal it seems – and that's where platypus venom comes in.
"Our research team has discovered that monotremes – our iconic platypus and echidna – have evolved changes in the hormone GLP–1 that make it resistant to the rapid degradation normally seen in humans," says researcher Frank Grutzner from the University of Adelaide.
"We've found that GLP–1 is degraded in Continue reading

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