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Pain-free skin patch developed for management of diabetes

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Pain-free skin patch developed for management of diabetesPain-free skin patch developed for management of diabetes
Pain-free skin patch developed for management of diabetes. IANS
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New York, Dec 27, 2017: There is good news for diabetics as researchers have developed a pain-free skin patch containing dissolvable compounds that responds to blood chemistry to manage glucose automatically.

For millions of people with type 2 diabetes, ongoing vigilance over the amount of sugar, or glucose, in their blood is the key to health. A finger prick before mealtimes and maybe an insulin injection is an uncomfortable but necessary routine.

The new study, published online in the journal Nature Communications, showed that the biochemical formula of mineralised compounds in the patch responds to sugar levels for days at a time.

In a proof-of-concept study performed with mice, the researchers showed that the biochemically formulated patch of dissolvable microneedles can make the management of Type-2 diabetes much easier.

“This experimental approach could be a way to take advantage of the fact that persons with Type-2 diabetes can still produce some insulin,” said Richard Leapman of National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of National Institutes of Health (NIH), US.

“A weekly microneedle patch application would also be less complicated and painful than routines that require frequent blood testing,” Leapman said.

The base of the experimental patch is material called alginate, a gum-like natural substance extracted from brown algae.

It is mixed with therapeutic agents and poured into a microneedle form to make the patch.

“Alginate is a pliable material — it is soft, but not too soft,” said lead researcher Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen of NIBIB.

“It has to be able to poke the dermis, and while not a commonly used material for needles, it seems to work pretty well in this case,” Chen said.

Chen’s team infused the alginate with a formula of biochemical particles that stimulates the body’s own insulin production when needed and curtails that stimulation when normal blood sugar concentration is reached.

The responsive delivery system of the patch can meet the body’s need for days instead of being used up all at once, the study said.

Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas and secreted into the bloodstream to regulate glucose in response to food intake.

It is needed to move glucose from the bloodstream into cells where the sugar can be converted to energy or stored.

In Type-1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in children and young adults, the body does not make insulin at all.

Type-2 diabetes, which can be diagnosed at any age but more commonly as an adult, progressively lessens the body’s ability to make or use insulin.

Untreated, diabetes can result in both vascular and nerve damage throughout the body, with debilitating impacts on the eyes, feet, kidneys, and heart.

Global incidence of all types of diabetes is about 285 million people, of which 90 per cent have Type-2 diabetes.

Many require insulin therapy that is usually given by injection just under the skin in amounts that are calculated according to the deficit in naturally generated insulin in the blood. Insulin therapy is not managed well in half of all cases.

The alternate therapy approach developed by NIBIB researchers may eventually make management of Type-2 diabetes a lot more convenient. (IANS)

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Study: Plant-based Diets Can Help Diabetes Patients

According to the researchers, those with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who do not have diabetes

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Study: Plant-based Diets Can Help Diabetes Patients
Study: Plant-based Diets Can Help Diabetes Patients. Pixabay

Plant-based diets can be beneficial for diabetes as a new study has found that it may improve glycemic control, cholesterol and lead to weight loss in people with Type 2 diabetes.

The researchers suggest that plant-based diets benefit both glycemic control and cardiovascular health because they are low in saturated fat, rich in phytochemicals, high in fibre and often rich in low-glycemic fruits and vegetables.

“The link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease is strong. 60-70 per cent of people who have Type 2 diabetes die of heart disease,” said co-author Hana Kahleova, Director of Clinical Research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington DC.

“The good news is that this study shows that the same simple prescription — eating a plant-based diet — can reduce our risk for heart problems and improve Type 2 diabetes at the same time,” Kahleova added.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

According to the researchers, those with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who do not have diabetes.

For the study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, the researchers reviewed nine randomised controlled trials — nearly 700 participants — that assessed the effectiveness of vegan and vegetarian diets for diabetes patients.

Also Read: Study: Diabetes Treatment Gets Boost From ‘Surgery in a Pill’

The results suggested that those who ate a plant-based diet lowered their cholesterol, lost weight, lowered HbA1c levels, and improved other cardiometabolic risk factors when compared to those who ate a non-vegetarian diet.

There was no significant effect on fasting insulin, HDL-C, triglycerides or blood pressure. The overall certainty of evidence was moderate but was low for fasting insulin, triglycerides, and waist circumference. (IANS)