Research and studies


The standardization of glycated haemoglobin: is it desirable?

The measurement of glycated haemoglobin (as HbA1c ) is central to diabetes care. This is the measure by which health-care providers can relate blood glucose control to the risk of complications, such as eye damage or kidney failure. However, a lack of standardization in the methods used to measure glycated haemoglobin has produced wide variations among results and is among the current

Diabetes 'vaccines': can an injection prevent diabetes?

Since the first vaccine, when Edward Jenner in England used an extract of cow pox to prevent small pox, vaccines have become a part of most people’s life. Many millions of people have received a vaccine of some kind – in most cases, many

Blood fats: a toxic meal-time tide

Eating is a pleasant necessity for most of us. We eat our food, the gastro-intestinal tract (gut) directs nutrients to the blood stream, and excess energy is stored for later use. Much of what is known about the mechanisms that regulate these processes has been learned from diabetes research. Because diabetes has always been regarded as a disease of glucose metabolism, the research has been focussed on the intake and processing of glucose. Jacqueline Dekker looks at the role of fats (lipids) in the processes that give rise to diabetes-related risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Blood glucose levels after meals: all important?

While it is known that people with diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the factors which contribute to this state are not fully understood. In this article, Antonio Ceriello examines the importance of the post-meal functioning of the body in the development of heart disease.

Global mortality attributable to diabetes: time for a realistic estimate

Measures of the public health importance of a health condition include the number of people affected and the number of deaths that are attributable to it. Globally, the number of people with diabetes is estimated to be just short of 200 million. However, diabetes is rarely perceived as a major contributor to mortality, largely because routine mortality statistics are based on death certificates where

How many millions have diabetes?

It is important to know or at least be able to estimate the number of people affected by diabetes. Having this knowledge enables us to track and predict the diabetes epidemic so that healthcare can at least attempt to keep pace with the growing numbers (in practice, unfortunately, it rarely can). To have authoritative estimates of the current magnitude of the problem and projections of the likely future burden is of vital importance in continued efforts to make the case for more

Diabetes after transplantation: revised guidelines target early treatment

People who have a kidney, liver or heart transplant are at high risk of developing diabetes. This can lead to cardiovascular disease and the rejection of the transplant. Factors such as age, weight and family history can increase the risk of new-onset diabetes after transplantation. Importantly, drugs that suppress the immune system and prevent transplant rejection also play a key role. In December 2003, an international panel of experts in transplantation and diabetes met to update the existing guidelines for the management of new-onset diabetes after

The history of diabetes nutrition therapy: from starvation to evidence-based recommendations

“For forty-eight hours after admission to the hospital the patient is kept on an ordinary diet, to determine the severity of his diabetes. Then he is starved, and no food allowed save whiskey and black coffee. The whiskey is given in the coffee: 1 ounce of whiskey every two hours, from 7am until 7pm. The whiskey is not an essential part of treatment; it merely furnishes a few calories and keeps the patient more comfortable while he is being starved.” Starvation (Allen) Treatment of Diabetes (1915).

Designer insulins and meal-time blood glucose control

After the discovery of insulin in the 1920´s, available insulin was from natural sources (animal pancreas) until human insulin was made available in the early 1980s. None of these insulins was ideal for injection under the skin. Now, new

Glucose: sweetness and toxin

Glucose is the fuel on which many parts of our bodies depend. It is also the blood-borne chemical responsible for the damage which causes so many potential problems to people with diabetes. Here Philip Home examines the link between these properties of glucose.