Wednesday February 20, 2019

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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Diabetes Can Contribute to Infertility: Experts

The global health body also estimates that 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and projects that such deaths will double between 2016 and 2030

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Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

Diabetes, commonly described as a “lifestyle disease”, can contribute to infertility in both women and men, warn health experts.

“Diabetes can cause infertility in both men and women. Both sexes are at equal risk of infertility,” S.K. Wangnoo, endocrinologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, told IANS.

Infertility affects up to 15 per cent of reproductive-aged couples worldwide. According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), the overall prevalence of primary infertility in India is between 3.9 per cent to 16.8 per cent.

“Diabetes in men damages DNA of the sperm and leads to reduced number of sperms and reduced motility of sperms which leads to infertility. Although having diabetes does not necessarily make men infertile, it could make them less fertile,” added Roopak Wadhwa, Consultant at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi.

On the other hand, diabetes in women is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other autoimmune diseases that can lead to infertility.

“Diabetes causes a lack of glucose control in the body which, in turn, can make the implantation of the fertile egg in the uterus difficult. Therefore, the chances of miscarriage in diabetic women increase between 30-60 per cent,” Wadhwa explained.

Another WHO report had stated that India had 69.2 million people living with diabetes in 2015.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

By 2030, nearly 98 million people in India may have Type-2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal last year.

While diabetic patients can always try parenthood, the risk of passing on the sugar disease to the child is approximately 50 per cent high, Wangnoo stated.

“It can also cause intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR) and congenital anomalies. IUGR is a condition where an unborn baby is smaller than it should be because it is not growing at a normal rate inside the womb,” Wadhwa added.

Furthermore, he noted that diabetic mothers are at high risk of premature deliveries, abortions and perinatal (during birth) complications.

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High diabetes can be risky for both mother and child. The experts suggest that maintaining a good lifestyle, an ideal body weight, keeping sugars within target range, avoiding smoking and alcohol and excessive work related stress are some of the preventive measures.

Besides infertility, diabetes can also raise the risk of cardiovascular and lung disease, arthritis, osteoporosis. An estimated 3.4 million deaths are caused due to high blood sugar, according to the WHO.

The global health body also estimates that 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and projects that such deaths will double between 2016 and 2030. (IANS)