Monday February 18, 2019

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

Novel 'surgery in a pill' to reverse diabetes

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Study: Diabetes Treatment Gets Boost From 'Surgery in a Pill'
Study: Diabetes Treatment Gets Boost From 'Surgery in a Pill'. (IANS)

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.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

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.

Also Read: Thyroid Dysfunction May Lead to Diabetes During Pregnancy

“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)

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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)