Category Archives: research

Wearing Stiffer Soles Will Make You More Comfortable – Everyday Diabetes

Wearing Stiffer Soles Will Make You More Comfortable

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There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when choosing the right footwear or inner sole to take away pressure from diabetic patients’ feet. The body mass index (BMI) of diabetics indicates how stiff or soft the cushioning material in shoes should be. In an article in Springer’s journal Annals of Biomedical Engineering, research led by Panagiotis Chatzistergos of Staffordshire University in the UK provides the first scientific evidence to help healthcare professionals provide bespoke foot care to their diabetic patients.

Previous research has shown that the stiffness of the materials used to cushion diabetic patients’ feet influences how well they respond to such treatment. However, there are currently no set guidelines that can inform healthcare professionals about which stiffness is optimal for which patients. According to Chatzistergos, practitioners currently fall back on empirical and anecdotal evidence when making such decisions.

As part of ongoing research into diabetic footwear, the team at Staffordshire along with their collaborators set out to find scientific evidence upon which to base such decisions. A range of different bespoke polyurethane (BPU) cushioning materials was manufactured, using standard footwear manufacturing techniques and commercially available chemical compounds. These materials produced had the same mechanical qualities but differed in how stiff they were. Various mechanical tests were then performed using a 3D-printed model of a heel, as well as the feet of ten healthy adult volunteers. Pressure measurements were taken of the entire area of the foot to assess the mechanical characteristics and especially the cushioning properties of the insole materials being tested.

The findings highlight the importance of considering a person’s weight and body mass index (BMI) when choosing cushioning materials. People, who weigh more or have a higher BMI, need stiffer insole or footwear material to reduce pressure. Different materials might also be needed for a patient’s left and right foot because the pressure is not normally distributed equally across a person’s feet.

The results further indicate that optimizing the stiffness of cushioning materials can reduce pressure during standing and walking by at least 16% and 19% respectively. The type of material that minimizes pressure at best when a person stands or walks was also found to differ. Stiffer materials are for instance needed for walking. According to Chatzistergos, this means that health workers should consider different cushioning material for their highly active patients compared to those who lead sedentary lives.

“Using different material to minimize pressure could further enhance the offloading capacity of therapeutic footwear and orthoses, as long as it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on gait and postural balance,” adds Chatzistergos, who notes that more testing is needed to develop clinically relevant material selection methods. The findings indicate that optimum stiffness could possibly be predicted without the need for lengthy and expensive measurements such as gait analysis and plantar pressure measurements, which will have an influence on effective clinical management.

Nachiappan Chockalingam, who leads the clinical biomechanics team at Staffordshire University said: “Every 20 seconds someone in the world is losing their limbs to diabetic foot complications. Our work focuses on prognosis and prevention of diabetic foot complications in addition to effective treatment options. We strongly believe that this study will influence the material selection process for any prescription footwear.”.

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Drinking Vinegar Before Bedtime Helps Control Diabetes Says Study – Everyday Diabetes

Drinking Vinegar Before Bedtime Helps Control Diabetes Says Study

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Have type 2 diabetes? A study suggests that you take vinegar before bedtime and it impacts waking glucose concentrations in a good way.

Acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar, has an anti-glycemic effect that has been attributed to reduced starch digestion and/or delayed gastric emptying. Why is this important? It may benefit those with type 2 diabetes who experience metabolic disturbances that lead to a pre-breakfast rise in fasting glucose, which is also known as the “dawn phenomenon”.

ABC10 reports:

“For type two diabetes, apple cider vinegar can be very helpful, but it is not recommended for anyone with type 1 diabetes because it can worsen symptoms,” said Karina Knight to ABC10.com, a registered Dietitian and Nutritionist.  When it comes to type 1 diabetes, there have been links that say apple cider vinegar can worsen the glycemic control in your body. This makes it very important for asking your doctor if you are looking to try apple cider vinegar.

Read more here.

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Outdoor Air Temperature Linked to Gestational Diabetes Risk Says Research – Everyday Diabetes

Outdoor Air Temperature Linked to Gestational Diabetes Risk Says Research

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Women who were exposed to colder temperatures during pregnancy had a lower rate of gestational diabetes than those exposed to hotter temperatures, according to a study published online today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The prevalence of gestational diabetes was 4.6 percent among women exposed to extremely cold average temperatures (equal to or below -10 C) in the 30-day period prior to being screened for gestational diabetes and increased to 7.7 percent among those exposed to hot average temperatures (above 24 C). The study also found that for every 10-degree Celsius rise in temperature, women were six to nine percent more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

The study examined 555,911 births among 396,828 women over a 12-year period. All the women studied lived in the Greater Toronto Area, but some were pregnant when the average temperature was warmer, and some when it was cooler.

Researchers looked at the relationship between the average 30-day air temperature prior to the time of gestational diabetes screening in the second trimester, and the likelihood of gestational diabetes diagnosis.

Dr. Gillian Booth, a researcher at St. Michael’s and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and lead author of the study, said the finding might seem counterintuitive, but can be explained by emerging science about how humans make different kinds of fat.

“Many would think that in warmer temperatures, women are outside and more active, which would help limit the weight gain in pregnancy that predisposes a woman to gestational diabetes,” said Dr. Booth.

“However, it fits a pattern we expected from new studies showing that cold exposure can improve your sensitivity to insulin, by turning on a protective type of fat called brown adipose tissue.”

A similar effect was seen for each 10-degree Celsius rise in the temperature difference between two consecutive pregnancies compared within the same woman.

“By further limiting our analysis to pregnancies within the same woman, we controlled for a whole number of factors,” said Dr. Joel Ray, a researcher at St. Michael’s and ICES who co-led the study. “Doing so allowed us to eliminate factors like ethnicity, income, activity and eating habits that would differ between two different women.”

In addition to a higher rate of gestational diabetes among women who were exposed to hotter temperatures during pregnancy, there was also a lower rate of gestational diabetes among Canadian women born in cooler climates versus those who were born in hot climates. Those women born in cooler climates, including Canada and the United States, and who were exposed to cold temperatures during the 30-day period prior to screening had a gestational diabetes rate of 3.6 percent, while those exposed to hot temperatures had a rate of gestational diabetes of 6.3 percent. In comparison, women who were born in hot climates, including South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, had rates of gestational diabetes of 7.7 and 11.8 per cent, respectively.

According to Drs. Booth and Ray, the findings, combined with the continued rise in global temperatures, could signal an increase in the future number of gestational diabetes cases worldwide.

“While changes in temperature of this magnitude may lead to a small relative increase in the risk of gestational diabetes, the absolute number of women impacted in Canada and elsewhere may be substantial,” they wrote.

Gestational diabetes is new onset diabetes in the second trimester of pregnancy and is usually temporary, but the risk factors for gestational diabetes and adult onset type 2 diabetes are virtually the same.

The results of this study could foreshadow the effects of rising worldwide temperatures on type 2 diabetes in general, according to the researchers.

“This is like the canary in the coal mine for the possible effects of global warming on adult onset diabetes,” said Drs. Booth and Ray.

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Outdoor Air Temperature Linked to Gestational Diabetes Risk Says Research – Everyday Diabetes

Outdoor Air Temperature Linked to Gestational Diabetes Risk Says Research

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Women who were exposed to colder temperatures during pregnancy had a lower rate of gestational diabetes than those exposed to hotter temperatures, according to a study published online today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The prevalence of gestational diabetes was 4.6 percent among women exposed to extremely cold average temperatures (equal to or below -10 C) in the 30-day period prior to being screened for gestational diabetes and increased to 7.7 percent among those exposed to hot average temperatures (above 24 C). The study also found that for every 10-degree Celsius rise in temperature, women were six to nine percent more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

The study examined 555,911 births among 396,828 women over a 12-year period. All the women studied lived in the Greater Toronto Area, but some were pregnant when the average temperature was warmer, and some when it was cooler.

Researchers looked at the relationship between the average 30-day air temperature prior to the time of gestational diabetes screening in the second trimester, and the likelihood of gestational diabetes diagnosis.

Dr. Gillian Booth, a researcher at St. Michael’s and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and lead author of the study, said the finding might seem counterintuitive, but can be explained by emerging science about how humans make different kinds of fat.

“Many would think that in warmer temperatures, women are outside and more active, which would help limit the weight gain in pregnancy that predisposes a woman to gestational diabetes,” said Dr. Booth.

“However, it fits a pattern we expected from new studies showing that cold exposure can improve your sensitivity to insulin, by turning on a protective type of fat called brown adipose tissue.”

A similar effect was seen for each 10-degree Celsius rise in the temperature difference between two consecutive pregnancies compared within the same woman.

“By further limiting our analysis to pregnancies within the same woman, we controlled for a whole number of factors,” said Dr. Joel Ray, a researcher at St. Michael’s and ICES who co-led the study. “Doing so allowed us to eliminate factors like ethnicity, income, activity and eating habits that would differ between two different women.”

In addition to a higher rate of gestational diabetes among women who were exposed to hotter temperatures during pregnancy, there was also a lower rate of gestational diabetes among Canadian women born in cooler climates versus those who were born in hot climates. Those women born in cooler climates, including Canada and the United States, and who were exposed to cold temperatures during the 30-day period prior to screening had a gestational diabetes rate of 3.6 percent, while those exposed to hot temperatures had a rate of gestational diabetes of 6.3 percent. In comparison, women who were born in hot climates, including South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, had rates of gestational diabetes of 7.7 and 11.8 per cent, respectively.

According to Drs. Booth and Ray, the findings, combined with the continued rise in global temperatures, could signal an increase in the future number of gestational diabetes cases worldwide.

“While changes in temperature of this magnitude may lead to a small relative increase in the risk of gestational diabetes, the absolute number of women impacted in Canada and elsewhere may be substantial,” they wrote.

Gestational diabetes is new onset diabetes in the second trimester of pregnancy and is usually temporary, but the risk factors for gestational diabetes and adult onset type 2 diabetes are virtually the same.

The results of this study could foreshadow the effects of rising worldwide temperatures on type 2 diabetes in general, according to the researchers.

“This is like the canary in the coal mine for the possible effects of global warming on adult onset diabetes,” said Drs. Booth and Ray.

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The Surprising Benefit of Light Physical Activity – Everyday Diabetes

The Surprising Benefit of Light Physical Activity

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You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or work up a dripping sweat to improve your mood and feel better about yourself, researchers at the University of Connecticut say in a new study.

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle — spending large parts of your day sitting at home or at work – simply getting out of your chair and moving around can reduce depression and lift your spirits.

“We hope this research helps people realize the important public health message that simply going from doing no physical activity to performing some physical activity can improve their subjective well-being,” says Gregory Panza, a graduate student in UConn’s Department of Kinesiology and the study’s lead author.

“What is, even more, promising for the physically inactive person is that they do not need to exercise vigorously to see these improvements,” Panza continues. “Instead, our results indicate you will get the best ‘bang for your buck’ with light or moderate intensity physical activity.”

For those keeping score, light physical activity is the equivalent of taking a leisurely walk around the mall with no noticeable increase in breathing, heart rate, or sweating, says Distinguished Kinesiology Professor Linda Pescatello, senior researcher on the project. Moderate intensity activity is equivalent to walking a 15-20-minute mile with an increase in breathing, heart rate, and sweating, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. Vigorous activity is equivalent to a very brisk walk or jogging a 13-minute mile with a very noticeable increase in breathing, heart rate, and sweating to the point of being unable to maintain a conversation.

The study looked at 419 generally healthy middle-aged adults who wore accelerometers on their hips to track physical activity over four days. Participants also completed a series of questionnaires asking them to describe their daily exercise habits, psychological well-being, depression level, pain severity, and the extent to which pain interfered with their daily activities.

Here’s what the researchers learned:

  • People who reported higher levels of sedentary behavior also reported lower levels of subjective well-being, meaning those who sat around a lot were the least happiest. Subjective well-being is defined as the positive and negative evaluations that people make of their own lives. These results confirmed previous studies.
  • In general, physical activity improved people’s sense of well-being. Yet, different intensities of physical activity were more beneficial to some people than others. For instance, people who participated in light-intensity physical activity reported higher levels of psychological well-being and lower levels of depression. People who participated in moderate-intensity physical activity reported higher levels of psychological well-being and lower levels of pain severity.
  • People who led sedentary lives and engaged in light or moderate physical activity showed the greatest improvement in overall sense of well-being. “The ‘more is better’ mindset may not be true when it comes to physical activity intensity and subjective well-being,” says Panza. “In fact, an ‘anything is better’ attitude may be more appropriate if your goal is a higher level of subjective well-being.”
  • While light and moderate physical activity clearly made some people feel better about themselves, when it came to vigorous activity, the results were neutral. There was no positive or negative association found between high-intensity physical activity and subjective well-being.

The last finding is actually good news for folks who enjoy hard, calorie-burning workouts, as it doesn’t support a widely reported recent study that found high-intensity workouts significantly lowered some people’s sense of well-being.

“Recent studies had suggested a slightly unsettling link between vigorous activity and subjective well-being,” says Beth Taylor, associate professor of kinesiology and another member of the research team. “We did not find this in the current study, which is reassuring to individuals who enjoy a vigorous activity and may be worried about negative effects.”

Many previous studies have attempted to identify the best exercise regimen to improve people’s sense of well-being. Yet no clear consensus has emerged. Some studies say moderate or vigorous activity is best. Others say low-intensity exercise is better. The differences, the UConn researchers say, may be due to the way the studies were designed and possible limitations in how people’s well-being and levels of physical activity were measured.

The UConn study is believed to be the first of its kind to use both objective (accelerometers) and subjective (questionnaires) measurements within a single group to examine the relationship between physical activity intensity and well-being.

Yet the UConn research also has its limits, Panza says.

All of the individuals who participated in the UConn study had a generally positive sense of well-being going into the project and were generally physically active. So their answers in the questionnaires need to be framed in that context. Whether the same results would hold true for people with lower subjective well-being or lower levels of physical activity is unknown, Panza says.

Also, the conclusions formed in the UConn study are based on information gathered at a single point in time. A longitudinal study that tracks people’s feelings and physical activity over time would go a long way toward helping determine what exercise regimen might be best for different populations, Panza said.

“If it doesn’t make us feel good, we don’t want to do it,” says Taylor. “Establishing the link between different types, doses, and intensities of physical activity on well-being is a very important step in encouraging more people to exercise.”

The study was published in the Journal of Health Psychology in February.

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The Surprising Benefit of Light Physical Activity – Everyday Diabetes

The Surprising Benefit of Light Physical Activity

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You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or work up a dripping sweat to improve your mood and feel better about yourself, researchers at the University of Connecticut say in a new study.

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle — spending large parts of your day sitting at home or at work – simply getting out of your chair and moving around can reduce depression and lift your spirits.

“We hope this research helps people realize the important public health message that simply going from doing no physical activity to performing some physical activity can improve their subjective well-being,” says Gregory Panza, a graduate student in UConn’s Department of Kinesiology and the study’s lead author.

“What is, even more, promising for the physically inactive person is that they do not need to exercise vigorously to see these improvements,” Panza continues. “Instead, our results indicate you will get the best ‘bang for your buck’ with light or moderate intensity physical activity.”

For those keeping score, light physical activity is the equivalent of taking a leisurely walk around the mall with no noticeable increase in breathing, heart rate, or sweating, says Distinguished Kinesiology Professor Linda Pescatello, senior researcher on the project. Moderate intensity activity is equivalent to walking a 15-20-minute mile with an increase in breathing, heart rate, and sweating, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. Vigorous activity is equivalent to a very brisk walk or jogging a 13-minute mile with a very noticeable increase in breathing, heart rate, and sweating to the point of being unable to maintain a conversation.

The study looked at 419 generally healthy middle-aged adults who wore accelerometers on their hips to track physical activity over four days. Participants also completed a series of questionnaires asking them to describe their daily exercise habits, psychological well-being, depression level, pain severity, and the extent to which pain interfered with their daily activities.

Here’s what the researchers learned:

  • People who reported higher levels of sedentary behavior also reported lower levels of subjective well-being, meaning those who sat around a lot were the least happiest. Subjective well-being is defined as the positive and negative evaluations that people make of their own lives. These results confirmed previous studies.
  • In general, physical activity improved people’s sense of well-being. Yet, different intensities of physical activity were more beneficial to some people than others. For instance, people who participated in light-intensity physical activity reported higher levels of psychological well-being and lower levels of depression. People who participated in moderate-intensity physical activity reported higher levels of psychological well-being and lower levels of pain severity.
  • People who led sedentary lives and engaged in light or moderate physical activity showed the greatest improvement in overall sense of well-being. “The ‘more is better’ mindset may not be true when it comes to physical activity intensity and subjective well-being,” says Panza. “In fact, an ‘anything is better’ attitude may be more appropriate if your goal is a higher level of subjective well-being.”
  • While light and moderate physical activity clearly made some people feel better about themselves, when it came to vigorous activity, the results were neutral. There was no positive or negative association found between high-intensity physical activity and subjective well-being.

The last finding is actually good news for folks who enjoy hard, calorie-burning workouts, as it doesn’t support a widely reported recent study that found high-intensity workouts significantly lowered some people’s sense of well-being.

“Recent studies had suggested a slightly unsettling link between vigorous activity and subjective well-being,” says Beth Taylor, associate professor of kinesiology and another member of the research team. “We did not find this in the current study, which is reassuring to individuals who enjoy a vigorous activity and may be worried about negative effects.”

Many previous studies have attempted to identify the best exercise regimen to improve people’s sense of well-being. Yet no clear consensus has emerged. Some studies say moderate or vigorous activity is best. Others say low-intensity exercise is better. The differences, the UConn researchers say, may be due to the way the studies were designed and possible limitations in how people’s well-being and levels of physical activity were measured.

The UConn study is believed to be the first of its kind to use both objective (accelerometers) and subjective (questionnaires) measurements within a single group to examine the relationship between physical activity intensity and well-being.

Yet the UConn research also has its limits, Panza says.

All of the individuals who participated in the UConn study had a generally positive sense of well-being going into the project and were generally physically active. So their answers in the questionnaires need to be framed in that context. Whether the same results would hold true for people with lower subjective well-being or lower levels of physical activity is unknown, Panza says.

Also, the conclusions formed in the UConn study are based on information gathered at a single point in time. A longitudinal study that tracks people’s feelings and physical activity over time would go a long way toward helping determine what exercise regimen might be best for different populations, Panza said.

“If it doesn’t make us feel good, we don’t want to do it,” says Taylor. “Establishing the link between different types, doses, and intensities of physical activity on well-being is a very important step in encouraging more people to exercise.”

The study was published in the Journal of Health Psychology in February.

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Pancreatic Islet Transplant Achieved Insulin Independence – Everyday Diabetes

Pancreatic Islet Transplant Achieved Insulin Independence

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Scientists from the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have produced the first clinical results demonstrating that pancreatic islet cells transplanted within a tissue-engineered platform can successfully engraft and achieve insulin independence in type 1 diabetes. The findings, published in the May 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, are part of an ongoing clinical study to test this novel strategy as an important step toward offering this life-changing cell replacement therapy to millions living with the disease.

Islet transplantation has demonstrated the ability to restore natural insulin production and eliminate severe hypoglycemia in people with type 1 diabetes. The insulin-producing cells have traditionally been implanted within the liver, but this transplant site poses some limitations for emerging applications, leading researchers to investigate other options. DRI scientists have focused on the omentum, an apron-like tissue covering abdominal organs, which is easily accessed with minimally invasive surgery and has the same blood supply and physiological drainage characteristics as the pancreas.

“The objective of testing this novel tissue-engineered platform is to initially determine that insulin-producing cells can function in this new site, and subsequently introduce additional technologies towards our ultimate goal to replace the pancreatic endocrine function lost in type 1 diabetes without the need for anti-rejection drugs, what we call the DRI BioHub,” explains Camillo Ricordi, M.D., director of the DRI and the Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Miami Miller School. Dr. Ricordi also serves as director of the DRI’s Cell Transplant Center.

This was the first successful tissue-engineered “mini pancreas” that has achieved long-term insulin independence in a patient with type 1 diabetes. The biological platform was made by combining donor islets with the patient’s own (autologous) blood plasma, which was laparoscopically layered onto the omentum. Clinical-grade thrombin was then layered over the islet/plasma mixture. Together, these substances create a gel-like material that sticks to the omentum and holds the islets in place. Over time, the body will absorb the gel, leaving the islets intact. The technique has been designed to minimize the inflammatory reaction that is normally observed when islets are implanted in the liver or in other sites with immediate contact to blood. The DRI’s clinical trial, an important first step toward developing the BioHub mini organ, includes the immunosuppressive regimen currently used for clinical islet transplantation studies.

“The results thus far have shown that the omentum appears to be a viable site for islet implantation using this new platform technique,” said lead author David Baidal, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and member of the DRI’s Clinical Cell Transplant team. “Data from our study and long-term follow up of additional omental islet transplants will determine the safety and feasibility of this strategy of islet transplantation, but we are quite excited about what we are seeing now.”

In type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas have been mistakenly destroyed by the immune system, requiring patients to manage their blood sugar levels through a daily regimen of insulin therapy. Islet transplantation has allowed many patients to live without the need for insulin injections after receiving a transplant of donor cells. Some patients who have received islet transplants at the DRI have been insulin independent for more than a decade, as DRI researchers have published.

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A Glass of Milk a Day Can Keep Diabetes Away Says Research – Everyday Diabetes

A Glass of Milk a Day Can Keep Diabetes Away Says Research

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If a glass of milk a day is a staple in your diet, then you’ve just lowered your diabetes and hypertension risk. Results of a study conducted in Singapore by Duke-NUS Medical School showed that adults who drink at least one 240ml glass of milk daily have a 12 percent lower risk of diabetes and 11 percent lower risk of hypertension.

Straitstimes.com reports:

The study found that adults who drink at least one 240ml glass of milk every day have a 12 per cent lower risk of diabetes. They also have an 11 per cent lower risk of hypertension, another common chronic ailment affecting Singaporeans.

A similar observation was made for consumers of dairy products, which comprise a total of 11 food groups such as milk, Milo, Yakult, as well as butter in bread and ice cream.

Read more here.

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Early Periods Associated with Higher Risk for Gestational Diabetes Says Research – Everyday Diabetes

Early Periods Associated with Higher Risk for Gestational Diabetes Says Research

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Knowing the risk factors will definitely get your prepared for what’s to come. And in this case, if you had your period earlier than 11 years of age, you might be at a higher risk for gestational diabetes in pregnancy. The age at which girls start menstruating could flag a later risk of diabetes during pregnancy, according to a University of Queensland study.

Researcher Danielle Schoenaker said those who had their first period at age 11 or younger were 50 percent more likely to develop gestational diabetes than those who experienced their first period at age 13.

ScienceDaily.com reports:

UQ School of Public Health researchers analyzed data from more than 4700 women from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health and found a higher number of women who reported having their first period at a younger age had later developed gestational diabetes.

Read more here.

 

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Improved Medication for Type 2 Diabetes on it’s Way – Everyday Diabetes

Improved Medication for Type 2 Diabetes on it’s Way

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Type 2 diabetes, a prolific killer, is on a steep ascent. According to the World Health Organization, the incidence of the condition has grown dramatically from 108 million cases in 1980 to well over 400 million today. The complex disease occurs when the body’s delicate regulation of glucose, a critical metabolite, is disrupted, creating a condition of elevated blood sugar known hyperglycemia. Over time, the condition can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

In a new study, Wei Liu and his colleagues at The Biodesign Institute join an international team, led by Beili Wu from the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM), Chinese Academy of Sciences, to explore a central component in glucose regulation. Their findings shed new light on the structure of the glucagon receptor, a highly promising target for diabetes drug development.

“The biggest highlight of this paper is that we now have a full-length structure of a class B GPCR,” Liu says, referring to a specialized cell-surface receptor able to bind with signaling molecules and influence blood sugar regulation.

In addition to ASU, scientists at SIMM, in collaboration with several groups based in China (ShanghaiTech University, Zhengzhou University and Fudan University), United States (University of Southern California, The Scripps Research Institute, and GPCR Consortium), the Netherlands (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Denmark (Novo Nordisk), provided a detailed molecular map of the full-length human glucagon receptor (GCGR) in complex with a modulator (NNC0640) and the antigen-binding antibody fragment (mAb1).

The research appears in the advanced online edition of the journal Nature.

Versatile components

GPCRs (for G-Protein Coupled Receptors) are specialized receptors adorning cell surfaces. They act like email inboxes for important messages, which arrive at the outer membrane in the form of binding molecules or ligands that affect cell behavior and regulation.

Receptor-ligand binding alters the conformation of the receptor and sends messages to the cell’s interior, guiding cell function. Pharmaceutical companies hope to develop new drugs that can more accurately and efficiently bind with cell receptors, including diabetes drugs that will be able to halt or reduce the overproduction of glucose.

The detailed structure of the glucagon receptor (or “GCGR”) examined in the study was solved using the technique of X-ray crystallography. Here, a crystallized protein is struck with X-rays, which form a diffraction pattern that can be reassembled into an extremely detailed picture of the sample. Such information is vital for the development of effective drugs, which must bind with their complex target cell receptors with great specificity.

Binding of a specific ligand to the glucagon receptor triggers the release of glucose from the liver during fasting, making this receptor a critical component for maintaining normal glucose levels in the body.

Class B GPCRs are essential to numerous physiological processes and serve as important drug targets for many human diseases such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, migraine, depression and anxiety. According to team leader and SIMM professor Dr. Beili Wu, “The GCGR structure provides a clear picture of a full-length class B GPCR at high resolution, and helps us understand how different domains cooperate in modulating the receptor function at the molecular level.”

The GCGR receptor consists of three key components: an extracellular domain (ECD), which protrudes above the surface of the cell, a transmembrane domain (TCD), which is anchored into the cell membrane itself and a region known as the stalk, which connects the two domains and acts as a kind of pivot. (Figure 1 shows the basic structure of the GCGR receptor made up of an extracellular domain, stalk region and transmembrane region. Also pictured is the binding antibody mAb23.)

The results of the new study are significant because all three parts of the receptor are essential for its ability to properly bind with its target molecules.”Previously we had solved the structure for this GPCR, but we had truncated the whole extracellular domain, which is a critical part for ligand binding,” Liu says. Further, although the stalk region contains just 12 amino acids, it is critical for activating and de-activating the GCGR receptor.

Tale of two hormones

Progressive diabetes can result in serious health complications, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. It is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

Proper regulation of blood sugar levels relies on two key hormones, which together act like a kind of thermostat. When blood sugar becomes elevated above the normal threshold, insulin is produced by islet cells in the pancreas, acting to keep blood sugar in check.

But an even greater risk to the body occurs should blood sugar fall dangerously low. Indeed, low blood sugar or hypoglycemia can be fatal as glucose is the most important brain metabolite, essential for survival. Under conditions of hypoglycemia, another hormone, known as glucagon is produced by pancreatic α-cells. Glucagon acts as the main counter-regulatory hormone, opposing the action of insulin and switching on glucose production in the liver during fasting. Glucagon influences target tissues through activation of the GCGR receptor.

In Type 2 diabetes, insulin production is impaired, leading to elevated blood sugar. Treatment for the disease with supplemental insulin has therefore been a therapy of choice for most patients of the disease. But diabetes also affects glucagon production through dysregulation of the GCGR receptor, causing the overproduction of glucose. The combination of insulin deficiency and glucose excess is typical of Type II diabetes and calls for a multi-pronged approach to addressing the disease.

The idea of targeting the GCGR receptor with drugs able to bind with it and switch it off has long been proposed and experiments in rats indicate that the approach is sound. Much more work is required however to perform the same feat in humans. Now, with the complete structure of the receptor in hand, pharmaceutical companies are poised to develop much more effective drugs that specifically target glucose production, while avoiding undesirable side effects.

Better reception

The glucagon receptor examined in the new study is just one member of a superfamily of GPCR surface cell receptors. GPCRs are the largest and most diverse group of membrane receptors in eukaryotes, (cells bearing a nucleus, including human cells). Signals that can be detected by GPCRs include light, peptides, lipids, sugars, and proteins.

GPCRs perform a vast array of functions in the human body and their role in modern medicine is vast. Researchers estimate that between one-third and one-half of all marketed drugs act by binding to GPCRs and around 4 percent of the entire human genome is devoted to coding for these structures.

While GPCRs bind a dizzying variety of signaling molecules, they share a common architecture that has been conserved over the course of evolution. Animals, plants, fungi, and protozoa all rely on GPCRs to receive information from their environment. Activation of GPCRs is involved with sensation, growth, hormone response and myriad other vital functions.

The team used an antibody to stabilize the receptor ECD region, making it less dynamic and more suitable for crystallization, locking the receptor in a particular conformation in which the ECD, TMD and stalk region are held in a specific orientation. The resulting full-length structure exposed by X-ray crystallography differed significantly from earlier predictions of the receptor’s shape based on modeling studies. (Antibodies like those used in the new study are being explored as possible ligands used to target the GCGP receptor and control diabetes.)

“Now, we know how the ECD interacts with the ligand, so there can be much more directional development of drugs,” Liu says. In addition to Liu’s expertise in the realm of GPCRs, he and his ASU colleagues contributed sample preparation, data collection and analysis.

A number of large pharmaceutical companies, (including Novo Nordisk, which supplied experimental binding compounds used in the current study), are now aggressively pursuing new therapies for diabetes based on the exquisitely detailed GPCR structures beginning to come to light.

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Diabetic Kidneys Can Be Donated – Everyday Diabetes

Diabetic Kidneys Can Be Donated

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If you have Diabetes and would still want to be an organ donor, great news, you can donate your kidneys. People who received kidneys from diabetic donors were 9 percent less likely to die during that follow-up period than those who were still on the wait-list or were seeking a kidney from a non-diabetic donor, the study found.

However, poor-quality kidneys from deceased diabetic donors did not improve survival chances.

Renalandurologynews.com reports:

Transplanting “high-risk” diabetic donor kidneys provides a survival advantage over staying on the waitlist for many candidates, researchers reveal.

Using the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network database, Jordana B. Cohen, MD, MSCE, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues compared 8101 recipients of diabetic donor kidneys and 126,560 recipients of nondiabetic donor kidneys who underwent surgery following the first diabetic donor kidney transplant in 1994.

Read more here.

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Diabetes 101 – EveryDay Diabetes Magazine

DIABETES 101

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re on the road to understanding what it all means, your journey starts here.
Here you will find helpful information about diabetes, the lifestyle changes, what you can eat, how you should take care of yourself and more.
A place you can start to make changes in your life for the better.
The Basics About Diabetes - Everyday Diabetes Magazine

The Basics

Diagnosed with diabetes and not sure what it’s all about? Here are the basics to get started. (read more)

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. (read more)

Type 2 Diabetes

Usually discovered in adulthood, it is found increasingly more in young people. (read more)

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. A person’s fasting blood glucose can be measured, or they can take an oral glucose tolerance test determine if they have pre-diabetes. You can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by keeping to a exercise and diet strategy designed to reduce excess pounds.

Diabetes 101 – EveryDay Diabetes Magazine

DIABETES 101

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re on the road to understanding what it all means, your journey starts here.
Here you will find helpful information about diabetes, the lifestyle changes, what you can eat, how you should take care of yourself and more.
A place you can start to make changes in your life for the better.
The Basics About Diabetes - Everyday Diabetes Magazine

The Basics

Diagnosed with diabetes and not sure what it’s all about? Here are the basics to get started. (read more)

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. (read more)

Type 2 Diabetes

Usually discovered in adulthood, it is found increasingly more in young people. (read more)

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. A person’s fasting blood glucose can be measured, or they can take an oral glucose tolerance test determine if they have pre-diabetes. You can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by keeping to a exercise and diet strategy designed to reduce excess pounds.

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Customer feedback is the lifeblood of our business. Tell us what’s on your mind, good or bad, we are always happy to get your input.

We respond to all customer feedback and look forward to hearing from you!

Want to write for us? Know a good story we should feature? Great! We’d love to hear about it. Drop us a line.

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Compound Found in Chili and Marijuana: Study Says it Can Reduce Stomach Inflammation in Diabetics – Everyday Diabetes

Compound Found in Chili and Marijuana: Study Says it Can Reduce Stomach Inflammation in Diabetics

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Who knew that eating chili can possibly help in reducing gut inflammation in type 1 diabetes? A compound called capsaicin, which is also found in marijuana, leads to anandamide production which interacts with the receptor to proliferate and help reduce inflammation.

“Our study unveils a role for the endocannabinoid system in maintaining immune homeostasis in the gut/pancreas and reveals a conversation between the nervous and immune systems using distinct receptors,” said study co-author Pramod Srivastava to Diabetes.co.uk.

Scienceworldreport.com reports:

The study suggests that edible marijuana could lessen the gut inflammation and provides insights on the association of the brain, gut and the immune system. The results in rats show that both capsaicin and anandamide lessened the gut inflammation. Likewise, the compound in chili pepper reversed type 1 diabetes in the mice.

Read more here.

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Beat The Diabetes Risk, Don’t Be a Couch Potato – Everyday Diabetes

Beat The Diabetes Risk, Don’t Be a Couch Potato

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If you’re one of those who binge watches and sits on their couch all day long (or stay in bed for that matter), then you might want to find other ways of staying off your behind. New research has shown that staying on your couch for just two weeks increases your risk for diabetes and heart disease.

These 14 days spent doing nothing will reduce your muscle mass, raise the potential for high cholesterol and increases body fat. To combat this, you should strive to achieve at least 10,000 steps per day – this is the target to maintain good health.

Express.co.uk reports:

Dr. Cuthbertson’s team, from the University of Liverpool, followed a group of 28 healthy people of a normal weight with an average age of 25. Participants usually took 10,000 steps per day or more but did not have more than two hours of structured exercise – such as going to the gym or playing sport – per week.

The results showed significant changes in the body, including loss of muscle mass (average loss 0.36kg) and increases in total body fat, with central body fat going up by around 1 percent. There was also an increase in liver fat and an increase in bad cholesterol markers. Overall, cardio-respiratory fitness levels also declined.

Read more here.

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About Us – Everyday Diabetes

About Us

Welcome!

EveryDay Diabetes is an online digital information news source for people with diabetes to provide them with the necessary tools, clarity and confidence to win at work, succeed in life and reach their potential.

Our goal is simple – to provide reliable health information for the growing number of people with diabetes who want to know more about controlling and managing their diabetes.

Our digital magazine, EveryDay Diabetes, offers up-to-date news, practical information on food & drink, body & mind, gadgets & tech, lifestyle & leisure, and the many other topics people need to know about to stay healthy.

On this website, you’ll find a variety of tips, knowledge, and insights about diabetes self-care written by health-care professionals and people with diabetes, as well as reports about late-breaking diabetes news. You can also sign up for our free newsletter and receive the latest diabetes news delivered straight to your inbox.

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Everyday Diabetes Staff

Publisher: Michael Conforme
publisher@everydaydiabetes.com
Editor in Chief: Bobby McGill
editor@everydaydiabetes.com
Partnerships & Marketing: Emma Kim
partners@everydaydiabetes.com 
Copy Editor: Michael Reese
Contributing Writers:

About Us – Everyday Diabetes

About Us

Welcome!

EveryDay Diabetes is an online digital information news source for people with diabetes to provide them with the necessary tools, clarity and confidence to win at work, succeed in life and reach their potential.

Our goal is simple – to provide reliable health information for the growing number of people with diabetes who want to know more about controlling and managing their diabetes.

Our digital magazine, EveryDay Diabetes, offers up-to-date news, practical information on food & drink, body & mind, gadgets & tech, lifestyle & leisure, and the many other topics people need to know about to stay healthy.

On this website, you’ll find a variety of tips, knowledge, and insights about diabetes self-care written by health-care professionals and people with diabetes, as well as reports about late-breaking diabetes news. You can also sign up for our free newsletter and receive the latest diabetes news delivered straight to your inbox.

Contact us

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Everyday Diabetes Staff

Publisher: Michael Conforme
publisher@everydaydiabetes.com
Editor in Chief: Bobby McGill
editor@everydaydiabetes.com
Partnerships & Marketing: Emma Kim
partners@everydaydiabetes.com 
Copy Editor: Michael Reese
Contributing Writers: