Researchers have developed “surgery in a pill” that can reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes and help reverse diabetes.
When the pill was administered in rats, it delivered a substance that could temporarily coat the intestine, forming a thin barrier that alters nutrient contact and lowers blood glucose response after a meal, the researchers said.
“We envision a pill that a patient can take before a meal that transiently coats the gut to replicate the effects of surgery,” said Jeff Karp, a bioengineer at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Massachusetts, US.
After a meal, blood sugar levels rise and can stay elevated over time.
However, one hour after the pill was administered to the rats, the response to glucose was lowered by 47 per cent.
“What we’ve developed here is essentially, ‘surgery in a pill’,” added Yuhan Lee, a materials scientist in the BWH.
This response was temporary, and after three hours, the effect essentially disappeared, the study showed.
For the study, published in the journal Nature Materials, the team selected a substance known as sucralfate — an FDA-approved drug that is used in the treatment of gastrointestinal ulcers — to adhere to the small intestine and then dissolve within a matter of hours.
Further, the team engineered the substance into a novel material that can coat the lining of the intestine without requiring activation by gastric acid.
The engineered compound, referred to as LuCI (Luminal Coating of the Intestine), can be made into a dry powdered form that can be encapsulated as a pill.
“We’ve used a bioengineering approach to formulate a pill that has good adhesion properties and can attach nicely to the gut in a preclinical model. And after a couple of hours, its effects dissipate,” Lee said.
The team is now testing the effect of short-and long-term use of LuCI in diabetic and obese rodent models. (IANS)
The body’s immune system plays a vital role in safe-guarding us from most infections, but as we age, our immune system also ages and gradually loses its ability to fight against infections. Among older people, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and liver ailments put pressure on their weakened immune system, which makes it more difficult for them to deal with threats like the Coronavirus.
Dr Karthik Anantharaman, Director e-pharmacy, Medlife talks about the various chronic ailments that affect immunity and how one can protect themselves with the right diet, exercise and medicines. These exercise workouts can go a long way.
Diabetes is a major cause for concern among the older generation, and if not kept in control, may make them susceptible to other high-risk infections. High amounts of sugar in the body tends to release free-radicals, which can damage blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis, a condition that restricts free blood flow in the body.
This may cause a stroke, or damage the smaller blood vessels present in the entire body – the eyes, leading to diabetic retinopathy, the kidneys – diabetic nephropathy, the nerves – diabetic neuropathy, where the patient loses all his sense of pain.
Uncontrolled blood sugar and diabetes also has a negative impact on the body’s immune system. It suppresses the immunity providing white blood cells (WBCs). When faced with an external infection, the immune system produces a protein called eantibody’, which is tested as eantibody test’, as a part of the eCOVID-19 tests’ to check whether the body has produced enough eantibodies’ to attack the virus from inside. This is done mainly because once the body produces enough antibodies to fight an infection the first time, there is little to no chance of the same infection returning again, which is the basis for any vaccine.
People who suffer from low thyroxine hormone levels are also at huge risk when dealing with infections due to reduced immune function. The thyroid gland is very important when it comes to managing several important body functions. The gland has an impact on pancreas, blood vessels, brain functions, digestive system, breathing functions, kidney, liver and the heart, thus making it important for immunity as well. Maintaining a normal level of thyroxine in the blood is extremely critical to the functioning of multiple organ systems, aside from the actual production of blood cells in the body.
Liver and Kidney
Liver and kidney-related ailments also negatively impact the immune system. In cases of liver or kidney failure, a patient can have a significantly weakened immune system due to reduced production of blood cells from bone marrow and some of the medicines used to treat liver/kidney diseases directly reduce immunity as well. Such patients need to take extreme care to keep infections at bay and not skip routine tests and medicines.
Heart patients are typically ones with high blood pressure & high cholesterol. High BP patients need to control their salt and fluid intake & their daily intake needs to be monitored the most. Heart patients also need to ensure they take their medications on time, at the exact prescribed hour because the intervals at which the medicines are taken at, inform their doctor on how the patient’s heart is performing. Based on this data, they may increase/decrease dosage or change the medicine.
Stress is a major factor in today’s lifestyle that needs to be watched out for, especially for heart patients.
Dos and Don’ts
For all the above listed ailments, a combination of healthy food, timely exercises, and combining it with medicines and tests is more than enough to ensure a healthy body, and a healthy immune system. For instance, someone with kidney complications needs to watch out for total salt intake, which has to be bare minimum, and fluid intake, which has to be in proportion with the food eaten. Someone with liver complications has to stay away from alcohol. Intake of foods rich in Vitamin B and Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 and Zinc are the most effective ways to increase the production of WBCs and antibodies. A healthy amount of sunlight also needs to be absorbed by the body to ensure a good amount of Vitamin D.
Increase in medication sales during COVID-19
Chronic ailments such as diabetes or high blood pressure don’t just disappear; they need to be monitored every single day. With the rise of COVID-19 cases day by day, people are becoming more aware, have more fear and are thus taking steps to ensure their safety, by keeping themselves equipped. They are becoming more compliant with their medication and ensuring they take it regularly and on time, which is why there is an increase in the sales of these medications. “Over the last couple for months, we have seen a sharp increase in the sales of blood pressure and diabetes medicines, more specifically, a 20% increase in blood pressure and heart medicines and a 10% increase in diabetes medicine”, says Dr Karthik.
How important is it for chronic patients to not skip/delay lab tests?
For most chronic diseases, like diabetes & high cholesterol, tests are prescribed at specific intervals. For instance, a random blood sugar test is to be done at least twice a week, fasting sugar is to be done at least 5 times a week, but that seldom happens in practicality. Hence, we recommend patients to do a fasting blood sugar test at least 2 times in a week and keep their records. For a hypertensive patient, maintaining a record of their pressure at least once a day is crucial. This kind of sequential data is very critical for a doctor to take decisions pertaining to their patients. (IANS)
People with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) are at greater risk of a poor outcome if they become infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — and in such situations, controlling blood sugar levels can lead to favourable outcomes, say researchers.
More than 500 million people around the world have T2D. While it was clear that people with this condition fare worse with COVID-19, the researchers wondered what role a person’s blood glucose control might have on those outcomes.
“We were surprised to see such favourable outcomes in well-controlled blood glucose group among patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing type 2 diabetes,” said study senior author Hongliang Li of Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University in China.
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“Considering that people with diabetes had a much higher risk for death and various complications, and there are no specific drugs for COVID-19, our findings indicate that controlling blood glucose well may act as an effective auxiliary approach to improve the prognosis of patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing diabetes,” Li added.
For the results, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the research team conducted a retrospective longitudinal multi-centre study including 7,337 confirmed COVID-19 cases enrolled among 19 hospitals in Hubei Province, China. Of those, 952 people had T2D and the other 6,385 did not. Among those with diabetes, 282 had well-controlled blood glucose; the other 528 did not.
The data showed that people admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and T2D required more medical interventions. Despite those interventions, they also had significantly higher mortality (7.8 per cent vs. 2.7 per cent) as well as a greater incidence of multiple organ injury. However, those with well-controlled blood sugar and COVID-19 were less likely to die than those whose blood glucose was poorly controlled, the researchers said.
Meanwhile, those with well-managed T2D also received less of other medical interventions including supplemental oxygen and/or ventilation and had fewer health complications. The researchers said the new findings offer three main messages for people with diabetes: People with diabetes should take extra precautions to avoid becoming infected, they take extra care to keep their blood sugar under good control during the pandemic.
Once infected, patients with diabetes should have their blood glucose level controlled to maintain it in the right range, in addition to any other needed treatments. The researchers said they will continue to study the relationship between T2D and COVID-19 outcomes. The hope is to learn more about the underlying biology that is leading to poorer outcomes for people with T2D and high blood sugar. (IANS)
A team of researchers has developed wirelessly driven ‘smart contact lens’ technology that can detect diabetes and further treat diabetic retinopathy – a common visual health condition associated with the disease – just by wearing them.
The team from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea developed a wireless powered smart contact lens that can diagnose and treat diabetes by controlling drug delivery with electrical signals.
The smart contact lens was able to effectively monitor blood sugar or glucose levels.
The contact lenses are made of biocompatible polymers and integrate biosensors and drug delivery and data communication systems, according to the study, published in the journal Science Advances.
“Despite the full-fledged research and development of wearable devices from global companies, the commercialisation of wireless-powered medical devices for diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and retinopathy is insufficient,” said study lead researcher Sei Kwang Han from POSTECH.
“We expect that this research will greatly contribute to the advancement of related industries by being the first in developing wireless-powered smart contact lenses equipped with drug delivery system for diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, and treatment of retinopathy, he added.
According to the findings, the research team verified that the glucose level in tears of diabetic rabbits analysed by smart contact lenses matched their blood glucose level using a conventional glucose sensor that utilises drawn blood.
The team additionally confirmed that the drugs encased in smart contact lenses could treat diabetic retinopathy.
Recently, by applying the platform technology of these smart contact lenses, research has been conducted to expand the scope of electroceuticals that use electrical stimulations to treat brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and mental illnesses including depression, the authors said.
The research team expects this development of self-controlled therapeutic smart contact lenses with real-time biometric analysis to be quickly applied to wearable healthcare industries.
The research team is preparing to carry out clinical trials for the safety and validity assessment for commercialisation of smart contact lenses in collaboration with Interojo Inc., a Korea-based company engaged in the manufacture and marketing of contact lenses. (IANS)