Wednesday January 23, 2019

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.

Next Story

Novel Hope for Stem Cell Approach to Treat Diabetes

'Another idea would be to use gene-editing tools to alter the genes of beta cells in ways that would allow them to 'hide' from the immune system after implantation.'

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Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that when they transplanted the beta cells into mice that could not make insulin, the new cells began secreting insulin within a few days, and they continued to control blood sugar in the animals for months.

‘We’ve been able to overcome a major weakness in the way these cells previously had been developed. The new insulin-producing cells react more quickly and appropriately when they encounter glucose,’ said lead author Jeffrey R. Millman, PhD, Assistant Professor.

‘The cells behave much more like beta cells in people who don’t have diabetes,’ he said.

For the study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, the team grew beta cells from human stem cells, but they made numerous changes to the ‘recipe’ for producing insulin-producing beta cells, treating the cells with different factors at different times as they grew and developed to help the cells mature and function more effectively.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

After that process was complete, the researchers transplanted the beta cells into diabetic mice with suppressed immune systems so that they wouldn’t reject the human cells.

Those transplanted cells produced insulin at levels that effectively controlled blood sugar in the mice, functionally curing their diabetes for several months, which, for most of the mice in the study, was about the length of their lives.

The researcher said he can’t predict exactly when such cells may be ready for human trials but believes there are at least two ways that stem cell-derived beta cells could be tested in human patients.

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‘The first would be to encapsulate the cells in something like a gel — with pores small enough to prevent immune cells from getting in but large enough to allow insulin to get out,’ he said.

‘Another idea would be to use gene-editing tools to alter the genes of beta cells in ways that would allow them to ‘hide’ from the immune system after implantation.’ (IANS)