Innovative Research From Around the Globe

Recently, I was leafing through the latest research findings of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Israel. I found a lot of interesting research on diabetes that I would like to share with you.

What follows was gleaned from reading over 1,000 abstracts from the September meeting. I would like to add a disclaimer—don’t change your diabetes treatment unless you first consult a professional.

Human Milk Has Almost Four Times As Much Insulin

Does cow’s milk cause type 1 diabetes? Researcher Shehadeh of Israel does not answer this question, but he does point out that human breast milk contains lots of insulin (60 µU/ml). Infant formulas contain almost no insulin (2 µU/ml), and cow’s milk contains only 16 µU/ml. Dr. Shehadeh suggests adding human insulin to infant formula in a concentration similar to that of mother’s milk to protect the child from developing diabetes.

Good News For Drivers

Researchers in The Netherlands report that “diabetic drivers with normal awareness of hypoglycemia can drive safely during moderate hypoglycemia, allowing them to take appropriate measures.”

Have a Wound That Won’t Heal?

Markevich at Nene-University in the United Kingdom reports that using maggot therapy is “really successful” for cleansing necrotic tissue in the wounds of diabetic feet. The use of maggots stimulates tissue growth and significantly improves the rate of healing.

Bad News—You Can Have Both

Having type 1 does not protect you from getting type 2. Researchers at Istanbul University found that type 1s with first-degree relatives with type 2 are more insulin resistant and may get both kinds of diabetes. Researcher Damci suggests combination therapy with insulin and insulin sensitizers, and says more aggressive treatment of cardiovascular risk factors would be more appropriate in such individuals.

Does Coffee Mess With Your Blood Sugars?

Researchers in The Netherlands found that two daily cups of coffee increased insulin resistance by 15 percent. Coffee increases blood pressure as well.

What Causes Type 1?

Researchers at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom are wondering why type 1 diabetes is increasing in children, but not in young adults. Dr. McKenny suggests that the causes of type 1 in these two groups may be different.

Antioxidants Given an A+

Researchers Gaede and Poulsen in Denmark gave 1,250 mg of vitamin C and 680 IU of vitamin E each day for four weeks to type 2s with kidney disease. They discovered that the urinary albumin excretion rate of the subjects decreased by 19 percent.

In another report, researchers in the Ukraine gave vitamins C and E to women with type 2 diabetes and discovered that it improved their blood-lipid profiles. The bad lipids went down and the good lipids went up. They suggest these supplements may be beneficial in preventing vascular complications in diabetes.

Researchers at the Royal Perth Hospital in Australia found that adding five mg of the B vitamin folic acid significantly reduced homocystine levels. This is good news, because elevated homocystine can lead to increased coronary artery disease.

And Me Without My Spoon

Dr. Stene in Norway turned in a report noting that mothers who took cod liver oil during pregnancy had fewer children with type 1 diabetes. They suggest that the vitamin D or the omega-3 fatty acids in the cod liver oil, or both, may have a protective effect.

But How Do They Get Rats to Inhale?

Researchers at Aberdeen University in Scotland had favorable results when they tested THC from cannabis on diabetic rats with neuropathy. Their data show that THC’s vasodilator and analgesic actions correct large and small fiber dysfunction. They conclude, “A cannabinoid approach to diabetic neuropathy appears worthy of further study.”

Watch Your Step

Researchers at the Sunderland Royal Hospital in the United Kingdom looked at what caused the most accidents among insulin-treated patients. It was not car accidents, but falling from a height of less than six feet. Dr. Kennedy suggests this is due to hypoglycemia, as well as to chronic vascular and eye complications. Further study is recommended, as well as prevention strategies.

Getting Closer to A Closed-Loop System

Lois Jovanovic and her team at the Sansum Medical Research Institute in Santa Barbara, California, tested the new MRG (MiniMed) implanted blood glucose sensor in humans with type 1. The study involved implanting the device for 14 days into the superior vena cava, which circulates blood from the head and neck, upper limbs and throat. The sensor gave a reading every minute. Dr Jovanovic concluded that the sensor was accurate enough for control of the infusion rates of an insulin pump.

In another study, researchers Gross, Mastrototaro and Fredrickson of MiniMed presented data from their new belt—worn continuous monitor. They found type 1s were hypoglycemic much more than they realized, especially at night.

I hope you have a happy holiday season!

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