Recent Advances in Diabetes ResearchConditions & Diagnosis | June 28, 2016
The past several years have been active in regards to diabetes research. New advances in diabetes treatments and medications are evolving and becoming available to the public and they show promise for not only better management of symptoms, but will also hopefully ultimately lead to a cure.
The Latest Diabetes Research
One of the most recent studies regarding diabetes looks at the connection between stress and type 2 diabetes. Evidence suggests that our environment actually plays a large role in our physical health, possibly even more so than genetics. It’s long been thought that when it comes to type 2 diabetes, family health history is one of the main factors in the risk for development of the disease. However, everyday stresses some people face may have a bigger impact. This is due to the fact that when we are in stressful situations, the body releases more cortisol, a hormone that tells the body to increase blood glucose and directs cells to absorb and store this glucose to keep it ready for muscles to burn. When cortisol levels are consistently on the high side, and no physical activity is being done to counteract the effects, this can contribute to type 2 diabetes.
Likewise, studies have also shown that diabetes and depression are also closely linked. Living with a chronic condition like diabetes can take a toll on mental health, and depression can make it difficult to take proper care of yourself. A new behavioral treatment plan being studied looks at targeting both depression and diabetes at the same time, as the necessary lifestyle changes that need to be implemented for diabetes management and mood improvement.
Another recent study done on diabetic mice found that injecting a group of hormones known as fibroblast growth factors (FGF) into the brain resulted in the rodents with type 2 diabetes being put into remission for two to four months. This specific hormone targets brain circuits involved in regulating blood glucose levels, and while researchers were not surprised the hormone worked to lower the glucose levels, they were surprised by how long the effect lasted after just one single injection. More research needs to be done on this particular finding, as this hormone also can cause cells to grow and divide, which can lead to cancer.
New Advances in Diabetes Treatment
More interesting diabetes research includes a study revealing that a medication used to treat high blood pressure may actually treat diabetes, too. A medication used to lower blood pressure called verapamil, which is sold under the brand names Calan, Verelan and Isoptin, may also help lower blood sugar levels. Studies show that people with diabetes, especially those currently using insulin treatment, had lower glucose levels when using this medication.
Another advance in diabetes treatment includes a study that shows a drug called Gleevec, which is approved to treat various forms of cancer, may actually be a potential cure for type 2 diabetes. Gleevec can lower the level of insulin resistance, which reduces the risk of both hyperglycemia and obesity. The exact reason why this drug improves insulin sensitivity and decreases blood glucose isn’t known yet, so more research is needed to determine the cause.
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