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In the new study, the team found blood serum from patients in the ICU with diabetes and severe Covid-19 had reduced levels of interferon-beta compared to patients without diabetes.

US researchers have identified an enzyme that may explain the reason why people with diabetes are at especially high risk of developing severe illness or dying from coronavirus infection. The culprit appears to be an enzyme called SETDB2. This same enzyme has been implicated in the non-healing, inflammatory wounds found in people with diabetes. Starting with a mouse model of coronavirus infection, they found that SETDB2 was decreased in immune cells involved in the inflammatory response, called macrophages, of infected mice with diabetes. The same thing was observed in monocyte-macrophages in the blood from people with diabetes and severe Covid-19. "We think we have a reason for why these patients are developing a cytokine storm," said researcher W. James Melvin from University of Michigan.

In the mouse and human models, the team found that as SETDB2 went down, inflammation went up. In addition, a pathway known as JAK1/STAT3 was found to regulate SETDB2 in macrophages during coronavirus infection. Taken together, the results point to a potential therapeutic pathway. Further, previous findings demonstrated that interferon -- a cytokine important for viral immunity -- increased SETDB2 in response to wound healing. In the new study, the team found blood serum from patients in the ICU with diabetes and severe Covid-19 had reduced levels of interferon-beta compared to patients without diabetes.

diabetic patients tools "Our research is showing that maybe if we are able to target patients with diabetes with interferon, especially early in their infection, that may actually make a big difference," Melvin said. Photo by on Unsplash

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Just over half of the men opted for long-term testosterone replacement therapy,

Supplementing testosterone significantly reduces heart attacks and strokes in men with unnaturally low levels of the hormone, a new study suggests.

The study, presented at the European Association of Urology Congress, indicated that the health of the men on testosterone therapy also improved by other measures.

They lost weight, had more lean muscle mass, their cholesterol level and liver function improved, their diabetes was better controlled and their blood pressure dropped.

"While men need testosterone for certain psychological and biological functions, only those with low levels who display other symptoms are likely to benefit from testosterone therapy.

"For those at high risk of heart attack and stroke, who are deficient in testosterone, bringing the hormone back to normal levels likely helps them to maximise the benefits of other steps necessary to improve their overall health," the study said.

For the study, the team included over 800 men with testosterone deficiency, whose family history, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes or weight put them at high risk of heart attack or stroke.

Only men with testosterone levels below normal, who also displayed symptoms of low testosterone, such as low mood, decreased appetite, depression, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido or weight gain, were included in the research.

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Photo by Hayley Maxwell on Unsplash

Eating almonds twice a day can help improve glucose metabolism as well as keep cholesterol levels in check

Eating almonds twice a day can help improve glucose metabolism as well as keep cholesterol levels in check, suggests a study. The study showed that almond consumption can improve blood sugar levels at the pre-diabetes stage, which may help prevent or delay the development of diabetes. In addition, almond consumption also reduced total cholesterol and ace bad" LDL-cholesterol significantly compared to the control group while maintaining "good" HDL-cholesterol levels.

"Lifestyle changes including improved nutrition and exercise targeted at teens and young adults have the potential to halt the progression from prediabetes to Type-2 diabetes. Results from this study show that the change does not have to be a major one -- simply including a twice-daily snack of almonds can make a difference," said principal investigator Jagmeet Madan, Professor, and Principal at Sir Vithaldis Thackersey College of Home Science in Mumbai. "The study results are very promising in showing how almonds improved total and LDL-cholesterol levels and reduced HbA1c levels in just 12 weeks of consumption," Madan added.

ALSO READ: six usual misconceptions about diabetes

For the study, the team included 275 participants (59 male, 216 female) with impaired glucose metabolism (prediabetes). The almond group ate 56 grams (about 2 one-ounce servings, or nearly 340 calories) of unroasted almonds every day for three months and the control group consumed a savory snack made using whole wheat flour, chickpea flour, salt, and Indian spices, with the same number of calories.

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The increase we see was observed in all of the racial and ethnic groups

Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops when the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Diabetics have abnormally high blood sugar levels, which if left untreated can lead to serious health problems, including foot ulcers, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke.

Jean Lawrence studies diabetes at Kaiser Permanente, a large health care organization. She looked at the medical records of a racially and ethnically diverse group of women in southern California who became pregnant between 1999 and 2005. "We studied about 175,000 teenage and adult women," says Lawrence, "and examined whether or not they had diabetes before pregnancy, or whether they developed gestational diabetes during their pregnancy." Gestational diabetes is usually a temporary condition that goes away after a mother gives birth.

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