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Type 1 Diabetes: Could Modified Blood Stem Cells Lead To A Cure?

Type 1 diabetes: Could modified blood stem cells lead to a cure?

Type 1 diabetes: Could modified blood stem cells lead to a cure?

Increasing levels of a certain protein in blood stem cells so that the immune system stops attacking insulin cells in the pancreas could be a way to halt type 1 diabetes, according to a new study reported in Science Translational Medicine.
Researchers led by those at Harvard Medical School's Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts found that they could reverse hyperglycemia in diabetic mice by modifying their defective blood stem cells to increase production of a protein called PD-L1.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin. Without sufficient insulin, the body cannot convert blood sugar, or glucose, into energy for cells, with the result that it builds up in the bloodstream.
Over time, high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, leads to serious complications such as vision problems and damage to blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys.
Immune system attacks beta cells
Around 5 percent of the 23.1 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the United States have type 1 diabetes.
The body produces insulin in the pancreas, which is an organ that sits just behind the stomach. It contains insulin-producing beta cells that normally sense glucose levels in the blood and release just the right amount of insulin to keep sugar levels normal.
In type 1 diabetes, a fault in the immune system makes inflammatory T cells — which usually react to "foreign" material — attack beta cells in the pancreas. Nobody knows exactly how this comes about, but scientists suspect that a virus, or some other trigger in the environment, sets it off in people with certain inherited gen Continue reading

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Can Diabetes Kill You?

Can Diabetes Kill You?

Here’s what you need to know about the life-threatening diabetes complication called diabetic ketoacidosis.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is one of the most serious complications of diabetes. Symptoms can take you by surprise, coming on in just 24 hours or less. Without diabetic ketoacidosis treatment, you will fall into a coma and die.
“Every minute that the person is not treated is [another] minute closer to death,” says Joel Zonszein, MD, professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. (Diabetic ketoacidosis most often affects people with type 1 diabetes, but there is also type 2 diabetes ketoacidosis.) Without insulin, sugar can’t be stored in your cells to be used as energy and builds up in your blood instead. Your body has to go to a back-up energy system: fat. In the process of breaking down fat for energy, your body releases fatty acids and acids called ketones.
Ketones are an alternative form of energy for the body, and just having them in your blood isn’t necessarily harmful. That’s called ketosis, and it can happen when you go on a low-carb diet or even after fasting overnight.
“When I put people on a restricted diet, I can get an estimate of how vigorously they’re pursuing it by the presence of ketones in the urine,” says Gerald Bernstein, MD, an endocrinologist and coordinator of the Friedman Diabetes Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
RELATED: The Ketogenic Diet Might Be the Next Big Weight Loss Trend, But Should You Try It?
But Continue reading

Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And Raise The Risk Of Diabetes

Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And Raise The Risk Of Diabetes

The debate over whether diet sodas are good, bad or just OK for us never seems to end.
Some research suggests zero-calorie drinks can help people cut calories and fend off weight gain.
But in recent years, the idea that artificial sweeteners may trick the brain and lead to "metabolic derangements," as one researcher has theorized, has gained traction, too.
Now, a new study published in the journal Nature introduces a new idea: Diet sodas may alter our gut microbes in a way that increases the risk of metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes — at least in some of us.
In the paper, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel describe what happened when they fed zero-calorie sweeteners, including saccharin, aspartame and sucralose, to mice.
"To our surprise, [the mice] developed glucose intolerance," Weizmann researcher Eran Elinav tells us.
Intrigued by the findings, Elinav and his colleague Eran Segal set out to determine whether this might happen in people as well.
First, they analyzed data collected from a group of about 400 people who are enrolled in an ongoing nutrition study. They found that people who were heavy consumers of artificial sweeteners had slightly elevated HbA1C levels (a long-term measure of blood sugar) — compared with people who rarely or never consumed artificial sweeteners.
Next, they recruited seven volunteers — people who were not in the habit of drinking diet drinks — and asked them to start consuming the equivalent of 10-12 of those fake sugar packets during a one-week experiment.
"What we find is that a subgroup [four of th Continue reading

A Tale for the Ages: How the Mystery of Diabetes Was Unraveled

A Tale for the Ages: How the Mystery of Diabetes Was Unraveled

Although it seems to have gained notoriety only recently as increasing numbers of people across the globe have fallen prey to the disease, countless brilliant minds have played a part in the fascinating history of diabetes mellitus. Scientists and physicians have been chronicling this devastating medical condition for more than 3,000 years, from the origins of its discovery to the dramatic breakthroughs in its treatment.
The earliest known mention of diabetes appeared in 1552 B.C. in a 3rd Dynasty Egyptian papyrus authored by Hesy-Ra, one of the world’s first documented physicians, who wrote about an illness resulting in frequent urination...which we now know is one of the key symptoms of the condition. And in the first century A.D., ancient Greek physician Aretaeus vividly described the destructive nature of an illness which he named “diabetes,” derived from the Greek word “siphon” (meaning flowing through), and rendered the earliest account of diabetic patients’ intense thirst and “melting down of flesh and limbs into urine.” Diabetes indeed appears to have been a death sentence in the ancient era: Aretaeus did attempt to treat it, but could not provide a good prognosis. He commented that "life (with diabetes) is short, disgusting and painful.”
In the Middle Ages, diabetes was known as the “pissing evil.” And until the 11th century, diabetes was commonly diagnosed by “water tasters,” who tasted the urine of people thought to have diabetes to see if the excretion was sweet like honey. Thus, the Latin word “mellitus,” meaning honey, was added t Continue reading

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Is Possible Through Weight Loss, Study Finds

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Is Possible Through Weight Loss, Study Finds

December 7, 2017
Type 2 diabetes has long been viewed as an incurable, chronic condition that often requires lifelong management through medication, such as Glucophage (metformin) and insulin. But a study published in December 2017 in the journal The Lancet suggested following a radical diet that restricts calorie consumption to under 1,000 per day has the potential to reverse the disease in some individuals without using conventional treatments.
"Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for six years, putting the disease into remission is feasible," colead author Michael Lean, bachelor of medicine and chair of human nutrition at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, says in a news release. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million American adults are living with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Worldwide, an estimated 108 million people have type 2 diabetes, according to the World Health Organization.
What Previous Research Says About Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Through Weight Loss
Previous studies have found that diet and weight loss can help people better manage type 2 diabetes, and in some cases, such as through the CDC Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), prevent prediabetes from progressing into type 2 diabetes. In fact, an analysis published in September 2017 in the journal BMJ offered a magic number of pounds that is linked with reversal of type 2 diabetes: 33 pounds (lbs).
Though risky, bariatric surgery also can help people with type 2 diabetes better manage the disease — potentially bett Continue reading

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