Jul 23, 2009 | 4
On Thursday the New Zealand-based Living Cell Technologies began giving type 1 diabetes patients a pig cell treatment, which promises to suppress disease symptoms.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), roughly 18 million people suffer from the disease, which is characterized by an inability of the body to produce insulin. This failure stems from destruction of islet cells—cells that reside in the pancreas and produce insulin—by a misdirected immune attack.
The company is harvesting islet cells from neo-natal pigs, encapsulating them in an algae-derived gum that protects the pig cells from being rejected by the person’s immune system. Studies on 10 subjects are currently underway in Russia, and now eight patients will be given the product, called Diabecell, in the New Zealand studies.
Jul 7, 2009 | 2
A large portion of the human genome (approximately 98 percent) does not encode genes. Long thought to be "junk DNA," these portions, researchers continue to learn, can play a role in genetic activity and, subsequently, in health and sickness. According to researchers at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, one such junk fragment might actually prevent symptoms of type 2 diabetes in obese mammals.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for about 90 to 95 percent of all cases in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Health, and primarily affects overweight people. These recent findings, published in PLoS Genetics, identify a likely contributor to obesity-linked type 2 diabetes. In particular, the researchers found that obese mice lacking a particular fragment of noncoding DNA called a retrotransposon had type 2 diabetes-like symptoms.
Jun 16, 2009 | 15
Not that long ago many chronic diseases were considered to be problems confined to prosperous countries. But the developing world is fast catching up—especially when it comes to diabetes.
Populous India and China have the most diabetic citizens in the world, with 40.9 million and 39.8 million respectively, according to data from International Diabetes Foundation. Other developing countries, including
In today’s Boston Globe, reporter Derrick Jackson writes from Uganda about the rise of diabetes there and the struggle for funds to fight the disease.
Apr 20, 2009 | 15
Sugar overload of any type does not bode well for your waistline or your health, but a new study suggests that certain sugars trigger more health problems than others. Consuming large quantities of fructose, a sugar found in high fructose corn syrup used to sweeten soft drinks and processed foods, may induce metabolic changes that lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to a study published today in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
"The bottom line is that we've shown important biological and metabolic differences between the two major sugars [fructose and glucose] in the diet," says study co-author Peter Havel, a nutrition researcher at the University of California, Davis. But, he adds, more research is needed to justify any recommendations promoting or discouraging the consumption of certain sweeteners.
Apr 14, 2009 | 11
Patients recently diagnosed with type 1diabetes who received transplants of their own immune stem cells were able to go without insulin injections for nearly five years after the procedure, scientists report today.
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks islet cells in the pancreas that the body depends on to make insulin, a hormone that converts glucose into energy. Treatment typically includes injections or infusions of insulin. Now, research in the new Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the transplant technique — autologous nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, in which a patient is infused with immune system stem cells from his or her own blood — enabled 20 of 23 recipients to thrive without insulin injections for up to 58 months. Twelve were able to stay off insulin continuously, while the rest had to periodically receive treatment.
Apr 13, 2009 | 1
At least seven states are considering banning bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in baby bottles and other plastic products that U.S. federal regulators have said is safe but has been banned in Canada because of links to health problems including heart disease and diabetes.
Lawmakers in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota have proposed restrictions on BPA, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports – part of a periodic series of stories the newspaper is running on the chemical also found in the lining of cans.
The proposed state measures would ban BPA in baby bottles, baby formula cans, cups and other products for kids, according to the newspaper. The House and Senate are also considering bills, introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), that would slap a federal ban on use of BPA in all food and drink containers.
Mar 12, 2009 | 1
Scientists have known for some time that in adults, low levels of vitamin D are associated with high blood pressure, high blood sugar and metabolic syndrome — a collection of risk factors for diabetes and heart disease that includes high waist circumference and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. Now we know that too little of the sunshine vitamin causes those same problems in tweens and teens.
Kids ages 12 to 19 with the lowest levels of vitamin D (less than 15 nanograms per milliliter) were more than twice as likely to have high blood pressure and blood sugar, and nearly four times as likely to have metabolic syndrome as those with the highest amounts (more than 26 nanograms per milliliter), according to research presented yesterday at this week's American Heart Association Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention in Palm Harbor, Fla. Levels of 30 nanograms per milliliter are considered sufficient. The results are based on 3,577 teens who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted between 2001 and 2004.
Mar 9, 2009 | 16
President Obama today lifted an eight-year-old ban on embryonic stem cell research, signing an executive order that he called "an important step in advancing the cause of science in America."
"We will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research," Obama said at a signing ceremony in the White House. "And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield."
Obama's order ends former President George W. Bush's limit on federally funded embryonic stem-cell research to cell lines created before Aug. 9, 2001. Congress tried twice to reverse that ban, and his National Institutes of Health (NIH) director, Elias Zerhouni, urged an end to the restrictions, but Bush vetoed the legislation both times.
Feb 16, 2009 | 21
Vitamin D is the vitamin du jour these days, with many doctors urging more sun exposure following years of campaigns advising us to cover up and use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Many of us, especially in cloudier areas, don’t get enough of the sunshine vitamin. The elderly and post-menopausal women are more at risk for deficiency, as are those who live in northern climes.
But today comes news that one group seems to be at particular risk, doctors report in the journal Endocrine Practice. Arab-American women who wore the hijab (a Koran-derived dress code that includes a scarf or veil over their hair and modest dress) and didn’t get enough vitamin D through their diet had half the levels of the vitamin of those who didn’t adhere as closely to the dress code. There was no difference in rates of health problems linked to vitamin D deficiency, such as bone or joint pain or breaks, or muscle weakness. The study involved 87 women in Dearborn, Mich., which has a large Arab population.
Jan 7, 2009 | 4
Hey, ladies, been spending hours fretting over your beefy bottoms? Perturbed about your pear-shaped bodes no matter how many lunges you do daily? Don't be. Turns out that having a little extra cushioning around your derriere and hips—think Jennifer Lopez—may be a sign of good health.
Harvard Medical School researchers report in the journal Cell Metabolism that fat around the hips and buttocks may protect women from type 2 diabetes and other diseases by releasing certain beneficial hormones. They say that mice injected in their bellies with flab from those areas made better use of the hormone insulin in breaking down sugar in the blood (a key to preventing diabetes)—and they lost weight.
"The surprising thing was that it wasn't where the fat was located, it was the kind of fat that was the most important variable," researcher Ronald Kahn of Harvard's Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston told FOX News. "Even more surprising, it wasn't that the abdominal fat was exerting negative effects, but that subcutaneous fat was producing a good effect. I think that's an important result because not only does it say that not all fat is bad, but I think it points to a special aspect of fat where we need to do more research."
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