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Cure of Diabetes may be just a few years away

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Feb. 11, 2016: This video produced by Voice of America and brought to you by NewsGram highlights 2 things:
1. Insulin Pumps currently are automated, ie, you have to keep monitoring glucose levels and then decide the insulin dose to be given via Insulin pumps. The scientists say, in next 5 years, automated insulin pumps would become a reality.
2. Ongoing experiments in mice give hope that even the cure of diabetes may not be far away.

Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Excess sugar, or glucose, in your blood is not good.  But a healthy body regulates it through insulin, produced in the organ called the pancreas. If the body fails to do that, either because of genetics, or an unhealthy lifestyle, diabetics have to adopt a grueling routine of constant monitoring of blood sugar and injecting insulin for the rest of their lives.

Both insulin monitors and delivery devices called insulin pumps, are available, but so far, creating an automatic injector that does not require monitoring has proved to be a difficult problem.

After working on it for almost 20 years, scientists at Harvard University say they may be close to solving it.

Frank Doyle of Harvard University says: “In essence, we use a patient model, a computational model, a mathematical model, to forecast into the future. So we get a sense of how past insulin affects future glucose, how the past trajectory of glucose is going to play out for the next hour or two.”

Scientists say automatic insulin pumps should be on the market within five years.

Finding a cure for diabetes would be even better and these mice may  hold the key.

In the type of diabetes caused by genetic disposition, the human immune system kills pancreas cells that produce insulin.  A jello-like substance engineered in the laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shields those cells from the attack.

Daniel Anderson of Massachusetts Inst of Technology says: “We can take these human islets from stem cells and actually cure these diabetic mice for months. We have also shown that in primates we can put these little balls of new material in the abdominal space of primates and see that they don’t form scar tissue which is an important step towards thinking of using them in people.”

Scientists are optimistic that one way or another, or maybe with a combination of approaches, they will bring relief to diabetes sufferers within a few years. (GEORGE PUTIC, VOANEWS, WASHINGTON)

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How social isolation causes diabetes

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A new research found that social isolation could lead to diabetes. Pixabay
A new research found that social isolation could lead to diabetes. Pixabay

This study on diabetes was published in the journal BMC Public Health, the team involved 2,861 men and women aged 40 to 75 years.

Findings

  • Men and women who are not active socially and remain isolated may be at an increased risk than individuals with larger social networks.
  • A lack of social participation was associated with 60 per cent higher odds of pre-diabetes and 112 per cent higher odds of Type 2 diabetes in women compared to those with normal glucose metabolism.
  • Men who lack social participation in clubs and groups had a 42 per cent higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, while those living alone had 94 per cent higher risk.
  • The study is the first to determine the association of a broad range of social network characteristics — such as social support, network size or type of relationships — with different stages of Type 2 diabetes.
1.7 million people aged 20 years or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes. Pixabay
1.7 million people aged 20 years or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes. Pixabay

“As men living alone seem to be at a higher risk for the development of type 2, they should become recognised as a high risk group in health care. Social network size and participation in social activities may eventually be used as indicators of diabetes risk,” said co-author Miranda Schram, from the varsity.

Early changes in glucose metabolism may cause non-specific complaints such as tiredness and feeling unwell, which may explain why individuals limit their social participation.

Promoting social integration and participation may be a promising target in prevention strategies for type 2, the researchers suggested.

“Our findings support the idea that resolving social isolation may help prevent the development of Type 2,” said lead author Stephanie Brinkhues, from the Maastricht University Medical Centre, in the Netherlands.

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