Research and studies

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Dietary toxins: digging up the dirt on vegetables

Recent research from Australia has implicated infections of common garden vegetables as a possible source of chemicals which cause damage to the pancreas, the organ that makes insulin. This damage could thereby cause Type 1 diabetes, the insulin-dependent form of the disease.

Gene therapy: looking for alternatives to insulin injection

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes greatly increase the risk of dying from heart disease and are leading causes of blindness, leg amputation and kidney failure. There is now conclusive evidence that these long-term complications of diabetes can be prevented by keeping blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible. However, achieving this with conventional insulin injections results in a three-fold increase in the number of incapacitating attacks due to low glucose levels.

Urban India: a breeding ground for diabetes

The global prevalence of diabetes is set to double over the next 25 years. Developing countries like India, already top of the diabetes league, are expected to shoulder much of this burden. Epidemiological studies show that the prevalence of diabetes is particularly high in urban areas in India. Cities are also home to a large pool of people with a great risk of developing diabetes in the future.

Hypoglycaemia at work: unfounded discrimination?

When firefighter Tim Hoy developed Type 1 diabetes he was immediately placed on 'light duties' pending a medical dismissal. Tim successfully appealed against the decision, but the assumption that the need for self-treatment with insulin, with its associated risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels), poses a safety risk in the workplace is a recurrent problem. The Edinburgh-based study, funded by Diabetes UK, gathered data from over 243 people with diabetes.

Successful islet transplantation has finally arrived: fact or fantasy?

Currently, transplantation of whole pancreases results in insulin independence and normalization of glycosylated haemoglobin values for three years in up to 80 percent of recipients. One group of investigators in Edmonton, Canada, has had initial success with the less invasive procedure of islet transplantation. Should this procedure take precedence?

Combined study reveals gaps in diabetes therapy

Care of people with diabetes is in need of improvement. Patients are often left in the dark about their condition and many receive false or unnecessary medication. It has been shown in a recent German study, performed by the Centre for Sociopolitics at the University of Bremen, together with the medical insurance company, Gmünder Ersatzkasse (GEK), that too few people with diabetes are being subscribed much needed medication, too many are taking the wrong type of medication and many are inadequately informed about sensible diet and self-management techniques.

The EASD 37th annual meeting in Glasgow

The 37th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) from 9-13 September, hosted by Diabetes UK, was the biggest meeting of the EASD to date. Ten thousand people in total attended the array of satellite symposia, lectures, poster sessions and the exhibition. However, the news of the terrorist attack in New York, shocking to everyone, dampened proceedings and caused logistical chaos for the American delegation. Following is a brief overview of some of the many interesting topics presented at the meeting.

Type 2 diabetes and stress

While stress has long been considered an important factor in Type 2 diabetes, there has been very little experimental evidence to show how it might affect the development of the disease. This article looks at recent research evidence which demonstrates the relationship between stress and the onset and course of Type 2 diabetes and describes how simple stress management techniques can have a significant impact on long-term diabetes control.

Beta cell insulin therapy

The insulin pump offers advantages to some people with Type 1 diabetes, freeing them from the chore of administering a number of injections every day. However, the high cost of the pump and the need for careful supervision will limit its use to wealthy patients who can count on sophisticated medical support. This article proposes the use of "beta cell therapy" in order to create surrogate insulin-producing cells.

Is type 2 diabetes preventable? What the evidence-based guidelines say

Diabetes is the commonest non-communicable disease worldwide. Researchers predict it will increase by around 160% by the year 2025. Sadly, most of this increase will occur in developing countries, which have the least resources to deal with the problem. Even in the most developed countries, health systems are struggling to meet demands for services. In recent years, this has led to a strong focus on prevention research.

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