Beat it

Beat it

8 things every diabetic should do in 2016

Just monitoring your glucose levels might not be enough. Here is all that you need to do to avert complications.

Debjani Arora 

For a diabetic, the new year hardly changes anything; your sugar levels are going to be as notorious as it was the previous year. Well, that’s not true, experts and doctors have been stressing the importance of diabetes management for too long, claiming that doing the right things at the right time can help control blood sugar level and also save one from the complications of diabetes. Dr Sanjay Verma, MD (Internal Medicine) and Consultant Diabetologists, Apollo Sugar, Delhi explains what you need to do this year to keep your blood sugar level under control.

1. Keep a tab on your sugar levels: This seems cliché, but what better way to keep your sugar level under control. The first step towards managing diabetes is to invest in a good glucometer. Measure your blood glucose level four times a day – fasting (before breakfast), two hours after breakfast, before dinner and two hours after dinner. Don’t miss doing this on weekends. Not everyone would need to monitor blood sugar so meticulously, but if your sugar level keeps fluctuating and touches 200 mg/dL and is hard to tame, it is better to keep a tab so you can take necessary action. Also, go for a HbA1C once in three months to get a better review of your blood sugar status over the months. Read to know what should be your normal blood sugar reading.

2. Make urine tests a habit: Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to chronic kidney failure as excess glucose in the blood makes the kidneys overwork. They need more effort to filter the toxins out of the blood and over time, the tiny blood vessels get damaged. This leads to excess water and salt retention along with leakage of protein through urine. Protein traces in urine marks the onset of kidney damage. So make sure you go for a urine test every six to eight months. Get your microalbuminuria (protein remnant) in urine with the second morning sample to understand how healthy your kidneys are. Here are five reasons for kidney damage that you should know.

3. Go to a cardiologist: Keeping your sugar level in control and meeting your diabetologist regularly might not be enough. Diabetes overtime hardens the arteries of the heart, brain, kidneys, legs, eyes, etc. However, your heart takes the maximum blow. Even if you don’t suffer from heart ailments, just being a diabetic puts you at a risk. So don’t ignore your heart and go for a cardiac wellness check up annually, starting this year if you haven’t done it till now. Here is how diabetes affects your heart.

4. Get your eyes checked: You can suffer from a gamut of related eye disorders – cataract, glaucoma and the worst being, diabetes retinopathy. Eye disorders due to diabetes can also render one blind, so be careful and don’t miss on an eye-check up, even if your sight is perfect. Here is how diabetes affects your eyes.

5. Learn more about glycemic index: When people use the word glycemic index (GI) in context to food, remember it is not a fad-diet term. Diabetics should be wary about GI. Remember, saying no to carbohydrates is not a smart way to deal with diabetes, instead knowing how to include it is a better solution. GI of foods indicates the rise of blood sugar after a carbohydrate-rich meal. Some carbohydrate rich foods have low; some have medium, and some have high GI values. Hence, the knowledge of the GI of each type of carbohydrate is very helpful in controlling the rise in blood sugar.

6. Don’t neglect your feet: If your diabetes is long standing, go to a podiatrist for a complete feet check up. They can tell you your ‘at risk’ areas where you can develop non-healing ulcers or sores. This helps you to take better care of your feet. Apart from doing the usual, like wearing tight shoes, walking bare feet, cutting the nails in a squarish front (to avoid ingrowing toenail) address corn and calluses to avoid foot infection. If your feet is at risk, getting a customised foot sole can also help in preventing complications.

7. Maintain speed and consistency while exercising: Exercising, even a simple brisk walk, can help in managing diabetes. But if you simply walk, it is of no help. The walking speed should be 6 km/hour i.e. neither a lazy stroll nor running. An early morning walk is desirable for best effects on obesity and diabetes control. However, you can choose other aerobic activities and games too. Here are five types of exercises every diabetic should do.

8. Talk to a counsellor: Don’t hesitate to do this. Fluctuations in blood glucose level lead to a change in levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and 5HT. When this happens, it makes one prone to mood swings and then to anxiety and depression in the long run. Mood can be affected every minute of the day. Uncontrolled mood swings can make one stop self-care entirely. This will make glucose levels go haywire, and affect brain function. Before you reach this stage, make sure to take help from a therapist.

3 reasons why bell pepper is good for diabetics

Eat a raw yellow capsicum every day to lower your risk of obesity and diabetes.
Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti  

Diabetics have to follow strict diet rules and think twice before putting anything on their plate. And this limits the intake of various fruits and vegetables. However, adding bell pepper, also known as capsicum, to your diet not only controls your blood glucose level but also lowers the risk of various health complications associated with it. Here’s how capsicum helps:

#1 Slows down digestion of carbohydrates and lipids
Anthocyanins present in bell peppers inhibits the activity of two key digestive enzymes – alpha-glucosidase and lipase [1].  The alpha-glucosidase enzyme aids in breaking down carbohydrates into glucose, whereas pancreatic lipase helps in degradation of fats or lips into fatty acids. If the digestion of carbohydrates and lipids is slowed, the concentration of blood sugar and lipids is also reduced, thereby lowering your risk of hyperglycemia and helping you to control your blood glucose level. Planning to lower your blood glucose levels naturally?

#2 Exerts powerful antioxidant activity
With an increase in your blood glucose level and hyperlipidemia, you are more prone to oxidative stress [1]. Capsicum contains high levels of phytochemicals which act as powerful antioxidants. These compounds scavenge the harmful free radicals released due to oxidative stress and lower your risk of various health complications caused due to diabetes. Here are 7 antioxidants your body needs (and how to get them naturally).

#3 Is low in calories
If you are obese and have a family history of diabetes, then you are at a high risk of suffering from diabetes. However, studies have shown that intake of capsicum, along with a workout regimen, helps you lose weight and thus, keeps your blood sugar within control [2]. It contains capsaicin that stimulates fat burning and speeds up your metabolic rate, thereby controlling obesity and improving your overall well-being.

Tips to keep in mind
The research study published in the Journal Natural Products Research have shown that yellow bell pepper is better than the green one in controlling blood sugar level in diabetics, and also lowers the risk of diabetes.

Raw capsicum is better than cooked one for diabetics. You can add capsicum along with other vegetables while preparing salad, sprinkle some cinnamon powder and eat it as a snack

1. Chávez-Mendoza, C., Sanchez, E., Muñoz-Marquez, E., Sida-Arreola, J. P., & Flores-Cordova, M. A. (2015). Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity in Different Grafted Varieties of Bell Pepper. Antioxidants, 4(2), 427-446.
2.         Mukherjee, A., Mukherjee, S., Biswas, J., & Roy, M. (2015). Phytochemicals in obesity control. Int. J. Curr. Microbiol. App. Sci, 4(4), 558-567.

Women more likely to get vascular dementia - caused by reduced blood supply to the brain from damaged blood vessels - than men

Diabetes raises the risk of getting dementia by 60%

•           Study looked at more than 2 million people and 100,000 with dementia
•           It found both men and women had higher chance of dementia if diabetic 


Patients with type 2 diabetes are 60 per cent more likely to develop dementia, a study has claimed.
Women with diabetes were more likely to get vascular dementia - caused by reduced blood supply to the brain because of damage to blood vessels - than men, researchers found.
It occurs following a stroke or when the blood vessels supplying the brain become furred up or blocked. 
Women who are diabetic are significantly more likely than men to develop vascular diabetes, a study found
The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which is non-vascular, the study by Curtin University in Perth, Australia.
Study author Rachel Huxley said diabetics can cut their chances of dementia by giving up smoking and drinking, exercising more and eating healthily.
Researchers reviewed 14 studies involving more than 2.3 million people, including more than 100,000 dementia patients, and reported their findings in Diabetes Care. 
'In Alzheimer's disease, nerve cells throughout the brain die off, and abnormal proteins accumulate in the brain for reasons not entirely known,' said Ms Huxley.
'Vascular dementia, in contrast, is the result of impaired blood flow to the brain, usually by a series of small, imperceptible strokes.'
Diabetes in women seems to lead to more risk for other conditions as well.
'These findings add to the evidence that diabetes confers a greater vascular hazard in women compared with men,' she said.
In Alzheimer's disease, nerve cells throughout the brain die off, and abnormal proteins accumulate in the brain (pictured). People with diabetes are 60 per cent more likely to develop dementia, the study found
'Diabetes confers a greater risk of developing heart disease, stroke and now vascular dementia in women compared with men.'
Overall, people with diabetes were 60 percent more likely to develop any dementia than people without diabetes.
Women with diabetes were more than twice as likely as those without it to develop vascular dementia, compared to a smaller increase in risk for men with diabetes.
More research is needed to look into how sugar in the blood interacts with the blood vessels and whether that process is different in women in men, she said.
Women tend to be under-treated for vascular risks relative to men, the study found.

Other factors, such as obesity, could form part of the relationship between dementia and diabetes which is why a healthy lifestyle is important to lessen the risk of both diseases, she concluded. 

Psychoactive plant may play key role in reversing diabetes

More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes, and 1 in 4 are likely unaware that they have the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. As the cost of care for diabetes patients and the overall presence of it continues to increase, news of a possible natural treatment is offering hope.
Researchers are currently studying the effects of a rainforest vine called ayahuasca, a psychoactive plant that contains a key ingredient that may play a role in reversing diabetes.
“Diabetes involves either an inadequate production of pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for the production of insulin, or a failure on the part of pancreatic beta cells to actually produce enough insulin to stabilize blood sugar,” Chris Kilham, The Medicine Hunter, told from Peru. “Scientists have wondered for decades, ‘Is there a way to stimulate more growth of pancreatic beta cells in the human body?’”
Kilham added that in humans, pancreatic beta cells develop within the first year of life, and continue to work to keep blood sugar levels stable to prevent the development of diabetes. In a recent study published in the journal Nature, scientists reported that the alkaloid harmine, which is found in the ayahuasca vine, actually causes the production of new pancreatic beta cells. Harmine is also found in a plant called Syrian Rue, which may also be a source of the alkaloid.
“But what the scientists found was that introducing this alkaloid harmine into a living system resulted in the proliferation of pancreatic beta cells,” Kilham said.
“This is a very big breakthrough,” he said, adding that it could potentially mean that type 2 diabetics might be able to achieve a reversal of their condition by taking harmine in some form, while type 1 diabetes patients might be able to produce healthy new pancreatic beta cells, therefore no longer requiring insulin therapy or being considered diabetic.
Kilham cautioned that the science is still relatively new, and the study’s authors said harmine alone won’t cure diabetes. Moving forward, researchers will need to find a way to specifically target beta cells with this chemical, without it appearing elsewhere in the body.

The next phase of research may take time, but the discovery could lead to the development of drugs that may one day reverse diabetes.

Taking drugs for depression linked to better diabetes control

People who have both diabetes and depression may have an easier time keeping their blood sugar levels under control if they also take medication to address their mental health symptoms, a U.S. study suggests.
Diabetics can be more prone to depression and stress than other individuals, and these mental health problems are linked to increased risks of dangerously high blood sugar levels and other serious complications, previous research has found.
When diabetics do get depressed, however, taking antidepressants is linked to 95 percent higher odds that their blood sugar will be well controlled, the current study found.
"We don't know the mechanism by which the use of antidepressants is associated with better blood sugars in those patients with both conditions," said lead study author Dr. Jay Brieler of Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
It's possible that when depression improves, people may be more likely to follow a healthy diet, exercise, check their blood sugars and keep up with medications for diabetes, Brieler said by email. Scientists are also exploring whether there's a physiologic connection between the two diseases, which might mean shifts in stress hormones tied to antidepressant use might also affect blood sugars.
"Regardless of the mechanism, I think that our study adds to the evidence that it is important to properly diagnose and treat depression in diabetics," Brieler added.
Brieler and colleagues reviewed electronic medical records for about 1,400 diabetics, including lab tests for blood sugar and prescription data on antidepressant use, from 2008 to 2013.
On average, patients were around 62 years old. Most were obese.
All of them had type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes, which happens when the body can't properly use or make enough of the hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy.
Many had other health problems, too, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.
Most - 1,134 of them - didn't suffer from depression, but the study included 225 people being treated for depression and 40 individuals who were diagnosed with depression but were not taking medication for it.
Researchers estimated average blood sugar levels over the course of several months by measuring the percentage of hemoglobin - the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen - that is coated with sugar.
This sugar-coated form of hemoglobin is known as hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c. With diabetes, keeping HbA1c test results below 7 percent is generally considered to be good blood sugar control.
Overall, only 44 percent of diabetics in the study had their blood sugar under control, or below 7 percent, and average HbA1c levels were 7.7 percent.
About 51 percent of people with treated depression had their blood sugar under control, compared to only 35 percent of those with untreated depression.
One limitation of the study is that researchers couldn't determine whether treating depression led to better blood sugar control or whether lowering blood sugar eases depression symptoms, the authors acknowledge in Family Practice. Both scenarios are possible.
It's also important for patients to know that certain antidepressants and antipsychotics can be associated with weight gain and poor blood sugar control, noted Dr. Robert Cohen, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and the Cincinnati VA Medical Center who wasn't involved in the study.
"That's why it is important to have those medications prescribed by a health care provider who will be following along closely enough to detect that and determine when changes are needed," Cohen said by email.
These risks shouldn't deter diabetics from seeking depression treatment, however.

"From my experience, getting depression under control by whatever means can help people overcome their inertia that prevents them from making their best efforts to deal with their diabetes," Cohen added.

Blueberries, red wine can help in erectile dysfunction

BY INENEWSLONDON– Flavonoid-rich foods are associated with a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction, says a new study.
Eating foods rich in certain flavonoids trims down the risk of erectile dysfunction in men, especially in those under 70, reveals a collaborative study from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in UK and Harvard University in the US.
A combination of consuming flavonoid-rich foods with exercise can reduce the risk by 21 percent, the researchers said.
“This is the first study to look at the association between flavonoids and erectile dysfunction, which affects up to half of all middle-aged and older men,” said Aedin Cassidy, a professor from UEA.
The research shows that of all the different flavonoids, anthocyanins (found in blueberries, cherries, blackberries, radishes and blackcurrants), flavanones and flavones (found in citrus fruits) were found to offer the greatest benefits.
“The top sources of anthocyanins, flavones and flavanones consumed in the US are strawberries, blueberries, red wine, apples, pears and citrus products,” Cassidy said.
Eating a flavonoid-rich diet is as good for erectile function as briskly walking for up to five hours a week, the findings, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed.
More than 50,000 middle-aged men were included in this large population based study.
Dating back to 1986, they were asked about their ability to have and maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse.

Discovery by Montreal scientists could help treat diabetes, obesity

New enzyme, G3PP, controls glucose and removes excess sugar from cells

The enzyme G3PP was discovered by scientists at the Université de Montréal Hospital Research Centre. (CBC)
Taxing sugary drinks could help cut consumption, researchers say
Obesity health strategy in Canada shifts to prevention
A new enzyme discovered by a Montreal research team could be key to fighting obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
The enzyme, glycerol 3-phosphate phosphatase (G3PP), was discovered by researchers at the Université de Montréal Hospital Research Centre and the findings were published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"It's a very exciting discovery in terms of metabolism, cardiovascular disease at large, diabetes and obesity," said Dr. Marc Prentki, who led the research along with his colleague, Dr. Murthy Madiraju.
G3PP is a naturally occurring enzyme that controls glucose and removes excess sugar from cells. In doing so, it protects insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and various organs from damage caused by high glucose levels.
"A major problem in our modern society is that people in general ingest too many calories compared to what they expend," said Prentki.
Dr. Marc Prentki led the research team with colleague Dr. Murthy Madiraju. (CBC)

This imbalance produces glucose levels that are too high for the body and can lead to the progressive deterioration of various organs.

Sanofi submits new diabetes drug

Sanofi submits new diabetes drug application to U.S. regulator

Published December 23, 2015


PARIS –  French drugmaker Sanofi said on Wednesday it had submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a single daily insulin injection to treat adults with type 2 diabetes.

Sanofi said it had requested a six-month review of its new drug application by the FDA, rather than the standard 10 months.

"A large unmet medical need still exists for people with type 2 diabetes, as more than half are not at their blood sugar goal despite using oral medications or insulin," Sanofi's diabetes head, Pierre Chancel, said in a statement.

The latest application involves a combination of insulin glargine with its lixisenatide drug, Sanofi said.

'Slimming Pill' To Fight Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes May Be Available Soon

By Staff Reporter

The world is close to having an effective and safe slimming pill that can combat not just obesity, but also other illnesses such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more.
A lot of people all over the world and a high percentage of these overweight people are suffering from obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States alone, 34.9 percent of the population or 78.6 million people are obese.
Obesity is a worldwide condition that should be taken care of immediately. Unfortunately, there is no safe and effective treatment available as of now. The measures for fighting against obesity are very limited to daily exercise and keeping a healthy diet.
The Daily Mail reported that a group of scientists discovered a promising formula to combat obesity. It is stated that they are now one step closer to perfecting the slimming pills they are currently researching after they have found out and understood Cnot7 and Tob, which are genes responsible for making people fat, better.
The research discovered that these fat genes have an impact to the activity of another gene. This another gene is known to be the Ucp1, which is responsible for controlling the Ucp1 protein (different from Ucp1 gene) production.
The Ucp1 protein is sent into the fat cells. It is essential in the process of converting fat into heat, which is helpful in shedding off some pounds.
It is known that obese people have a low concentration of Ucp1 in fat. As a result, their body store fat instead of burning and converting it to energy.
According to Mirror, the research conducted concluded that the mice with less fat genes - Cnot7 and Tob - have great fat burning function while the mice lacking the Ucp1 genes have higher chances of storing fat and getting fatter.
Dr. Takashi Akinori, the lead researcher, said that their team wants to look for the best measure to suppress the pathway that holds back the "fat-to-energy conversion process." He also stated that enhancing one's fat burning functionality can lead to the production of the very first safe and effective anti-obesity drug.
They want to produce a drug that helps people maintain a fit body without having the need to completely avoid and give up the food that they want to eat.
Do you think that the world is really close to having that perfect anti-obesity drug? Tell us your thoughts by commenting below.

Once-a-week diabetes meds are similar in safety and effectiveness

By Andrew M. Seaman

There's little difference in the performance of five new once-a-week drugs to treat diabetes when they're compared to one another, though small differences in side effects emerge, according to a new review of existing evidence.
Past studies of the drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists - or GLP-1RAs - have found that the medications improve blood sugar control and reduce body weight, but the review's lead author said no research had compared the various versions head-to-head.
"The main message is that today several drugs are available for the control of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes, as never before," said Dr. Francesco Zaccardi, of the Diabetes Research Center at Leicester General Hospital in the U.K., "Therefore, it is even more important to know differences and similarities among drugs."
In type 2 diabetes, the body can't properly use or make enough of the hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy.
The drugs compared in the study - three of which are on the market, and two in development - stimulate insulin and have other beneficial effects like slowing digestion, the study team writes in Annals of Internal Medicine. All are taken once a week.
The American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes currently recommend GLP-1RAs as an option for people with type 2 diabetes who have tried other treatments like lifestyle changes and metformin, which is a longstanding oral drug used to improve blood sugar control.
For the new study, Zaccardi and colleagues analyzed data from 34 trials that included a total of 21,126 participants taking one of the five GLP-1RAs.
They found that the drugs performed similarly in reducing blood sugar, as well as heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation. The risk of dangerous blood sugar lows known as hypoglycemia was also similar among people taking all five drugs.
The medications differed, however, when it came to reducing weight and HbA1c, which is a measure of average blood sugar levels over about three months.
Dulaglutide 1.5 milligrams (mg), which is sold as Trulicity by Eli Lilly; once-weekly exenatide, which is sold as Bydureon by AstraZeneca; and taspoglutide 20 mg, which is in development by Ipsen and Roche, all performed better on those those two points than albiglutide, which is sold as Tanzeum by GlaxoSmithKline. Semaglutide, in development by Novo Nordisk, was not included in this analysis.
Still, the differences were small. HbA1c is measured in percentages with normal being below 6 percent and 6.5 percent or above being considered diabetes. Zaccardi told Reuters Health in an email that the greatest differences between the drugs were around 0.4 percent for HbA1c and about three pounds of body weight.
"The weight loss is instructive because a lot of people hear stories of people losing a lot of weight, but the mean weight loss is modest," said Dr. Sethu Reddy, chief of the Adult Diabetes Section at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
The researchers also found that taspoglutide 20 mg has the highest risk of nausea. And once-weekly exenatide increased heart rate compared with albiglutide and dulaglutide by 1.4 to 3.2 beats per minute.
Zaccardi said that few comparisons like this study have been done between similar diabetes drugs, which limits their ability to compare the results to other types of treatments.
"I believe that the study underlines the necessity to perform direct comparisons among drugs of the same class to better clarify the pros and cons of each drug," he added.
Reddy, who was not involved in the new review, also cautioned that the findings are based on a comparison of existing data from separate studies.
"It's not the 'real deal' so to speak in that there are no trials comparing these drugs to one another," he said.
But, Reddy added, the review and new research into GLP-1RAs should give people comfort since it shows the drugs really do work to reduce high blood sugar and other diabetes symptoms.

"That makes me more comfortable that this therapeutic area is real, and not a flash in the pan and the mechanism is real," he said.

Stress increases stroke risk in diabetics

Obesity and sedentary lifestyle can increase risk of kidney stone and tooth decay can be controlled through proper diet and toothbrushing—studies and research tips for a healthier you
Carbohydrate diet more effective than animal protein diet to combat post-pregnancy diabetes risk
Taking more animal protein and less carbohydrate during pregnancy can increase the risk of diabetes, a study suggests. The researchers examined the responses of 4,500 women with a history of gestational diabetes who filled out dietary surveys between 1991 and 2001. They were divided into five groups based on the amount of carbohydrates and protein in their diet. The findings revealed the risk was smaller in women who took plant-based protein and fats in their diet and higher in women whose diet was high in animal proteins and low in carbohydrates. Animal protein increases concentration of branched-chain amino acids in the blood which slows blood’s ability to process insulin, which can lead to diabetes. The study was published inDiabetes Care. Read more here.
Depression and stress increases stroke risk in diabetics by 53%
Depression and stress in diabetes patients can increase risk of stroke and death from cardiovascular disease by 53%, warns an American study. Researchers from East Carolina University reviewed data on nearly 22,000 adults where 4,100 had diabetes. The average age of the participants was 64 years and 58% were females. The study revealed people with diabetes were more likely to die of cardiovascular disease if they suffered from stress or depression in comparison to diabetics without these mental health problems. Having both stress and depression at the same time increases the risk further, noted the study. The study was published in Diabetes Care. Read more here.
Obesity and lack of exercise can cause kidney stones
Obesity, high blood pressure and lack of exercise can lead to growth of kidney stones, claims a new study. Kidney stones occur when crystal deposits become stone-like lumps. The researchers reviewed data on 2,19,255 patients and found that people with METS are more likely to develop kidney stones. METS is a metabolic syndrome caused by a combination of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. “Poor eating habits which involve excessive animal protein, salt and sugar intake fuel the build-up of chemicals in the urine which exacerbates stone formation,” said Dr Bhaskar Somani from Southampton General Hospital. The researchers noted that adults can reduce the risk by drinking between two and three litres of water every day. The study was published in the Journal of Endourology. Read more here.
Tooth decay can be treated without drilling

Tooth decay can be stopped without the need of the traditional drill-and-fill practice that is commonly used, claims a study. Previous studies have showed that tooth decay is a slower process than believed. The researchers enlisted 1,000 people for the study and treated half of them with the conventional drill-and-fill method. The other half was treated using a Caries Management System, a preventive approach that focuses on home tooth brushing skills and restricts snacking and intake of sugary drinks between meals. After seven years, they found that the need for fillings was reduced by 30-50% in the preventive group. The study was published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.  Compiled by Abhijit Ahaskar

Diabetes Patients Have Double The Tooth Loss Than Everyone Else, And African Americans Are At Highest Risk

By Steve Smith@realsteve_smith

Tooth loss is another symptom of diabetes, especially in African Americans.Partha S. Sahana CC BY 2.0
The American Diabetes Association reports diabetes now affects more than nine million Americans, costing $245 billion to diagnose and treat the disease. While there are remedies to help fight or alleviate common symptoms, like high-intensity interval training and cooking a well-balanced meal to maintain a healthy diet and exercise, plenty of Americans still frequently experience high blood pressure, kidney disease, and increased risk for stroke. According to a new study, diabetics may also be losing more of their teeth.
The study, published in Preventing Chronic Disease, examined tooth-loss trends from more than 37,000 people using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 1971 and 2012. Researchers found tooth loss was prevalent in type 2 diabetics, and even more so among African Americans despite an overall decline in the past 40 years. They also reported aging African Americans with diabetes are much more susceptible to losing their teeth than whites or Mexican Americans, while other populations with diabetes experience tooth loss about twice as much as non-diabetics.
"We have more evidence that oral health is related to diabetes," said lead researcher Bei Wu, a professor of nursing and global health at Duke University in Durham, N.C., according to HealthDay. However, Wu and her team were unable to determine why, exactly, there’s a link between diabetes and tooth loss.
Between 1999 and 2000, Wu said people with diabetes were 34 percent less likely to have at least 21 teeth than those who did not have diabetes. Yet Dr. Edmond Hewlett, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association, told CBS News these concerns with oral and overall health are important for the general public to be aware of, not just those with diabetes.
“[The connection between tooth loss and diabetes] is something we've been aware of, but this gives additional strong evidence about that,” Hewlett, who is also a professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry, said. “And the other big thing is health disparities — the rate at which some diseases can affect some racial or ethnic groups more than others."
The ADA reports diabetes “may weaken your mouth’s germ-fighting powers,” making diabetics more susceptible to gingivitis and serious gum disease (periodontitis). The disease causes blood vessels to expand, which slows the flow of nutrients to the mouth and the removal of harmful bacteria. However, the ADA adds this is a two-way street: Gum disease “may also have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.”
“Then let's layer on the access to care issue that some patients face,” Hewlett said. “There's other good evidence showing African Americans have lower access to dental care."
The researchers are using their findings to emphasize how important oral health and hygiene is to those with diabetes. They recommend regular visits to the dentist and proper home care for both teeth and gums, which includes brushing and flossing.

Researchers concluded: “ Given the bidirectional relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease, our study findings highlight the need to improve dental self-care and knowledge of diabetes risks among people with diabetes, especially among non-Hispanic blacks, who had more tooth loss and lost teeth at a higher rate.”

Source: Wu B et al. Forty-Year Trends in Tooth Loss Among American Adults With and Without Diabetes Mellitus: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2015.

Hate needles? Google's smartwatch will analyse your blood prick-free

Google has filed a patent application for its new smartwatch that is able to draw blood from the user's wrist for testing and analysis without the dreaded prick. The blood is drawn through a painless procedure involving micro-particles and does not require needles.
Google has been involved in several projects that are aimed at fighting diabetes and other severe ailments. Since blood testing and analysis is a regular process, Google's new smartwatch aims to remove the pain factor by replacing needles with a new technology.
Google to launch health information app in UK soon
The new blood-sucking technology involves a micro-particle being shot into the wearer's skin through a high pressure gas barrel and a tiny amount of blood sucked back into a low pressure barrel. The blood thus drawn can be used for several tests, analysis and diagnostics.
If you are a diabetes patient, this new technology will let you go through regular blood testing without having to go for injections, thus saving you from pain and letting you walk the extra mile to get yourself treated quicker and more effectively.
Apple ResearchKit lends a helping hand to medics
Google has also built a new smart contact lens which can analyse sugar levels from data collected from tear fluid in the wearer's eye. The smart lens contains micro sensors and computer processing chip sets for this purpose.
Google's erstwhile research and development unit for health science projects is now under the aegis of its parent-unit Alphabet. Life Science, a health care start-up under Alphabet, is partnering with Novartis to perfect the smart contact lens for commercial use.
Google to enter health and fitness market with Google Fit
“Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturisation of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people. We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true," said Google's co-founder Serget Brin whehn the deal was struck.
The lens could also be used to help improve poor eyesight and even work to counteract the effects of cataracts.

Diabetes drug metformin tested for anti-aging properties in human trials

Ian Wyant

Anti-aging is a phrase largely associated with a glut of creams, diets, and therapies touted by pop-up ads. The many spurious claims of technologies that put a stop to old age have made the process of testing out the first potentially real anti-aging drug an uphill battle. Fortunately, the push to test the diabetes drugmetformin as a cure for aging in humans has been met with success, and the FDA has approved a human trial.
According to an article by The Telegraph, metformin, though usually used to treat type 2 diabetes, has been shown to slow down the aging process and extend the lives of animals in clinical tests. Scientists expect that if the drug works as well on humans as it does on mice, than normal life expectancy for humans could rise from around 80 years to nearly 120 years.Newsmax reported on Dec. 3 that mice treated with metformin had a 40 percent longer lifespan and roundworms given the drug aged much slower.
If the drug works as expected the results could be revolutionary as medicine would no longer focus so much on treating the results of aging, like cancer, diabetes and dementia, but fighting the aging process itself. Called ‘geroscience’ this new treatment plan could render diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s a thing of the past.
“If you target an ageing process and you slow down ageing then you slow down all the diseases and pathology of ageing as well,” Gordon Lithgow, one of the study’s advisors and professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing in California, told The Telegraph. “That’s revolutionary. That’s never happened before.”
For a long time, ageing has been seen as an inevitable part of life. However, since every cell contains a DNA blueprint of the body humans could potentially grow older without actually ageing at all. Most of the issues associated with old age arise from the billions of cell divisions that occur over our lifetime. With each cell division, the chances of their being a mistake grow larger. And the mistakes that do occur lead to issues where cells can no longer get rid of mutations, causing cancer, or the brain ceases to clear out plaques, leading to dementia.
Scientists believe that metformin, which increases the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell, increases the durability of cells and their longevity. The usefulness of metformin for humans is helped by the fact that it is already used to treat patients with diabetes. In fact, last year Cardiff University discovered that diabetes patients given metformin lived longer than those without diabetes, despite statistics saying they should have died eight years prior.
The upcoming clinical trial for the drug is being called TAME, Targeting Aging with Metformin, and the test will be performed on 3,000 subjects between the ages of 70 and 80 who are at risk for or already have cancer, dementia or heart disease. Scientists are hoping that the trial, which will begin in the winter of next year, will show that metformin can slow aging and stop disease.
If the results are positive that means a true anti-aging drug may not be far off. Current estimates suggest that a vaccine or pill that fights old age could increase lifespan by nearly 50 percent. According to Professor Lithgow, young people in the future may be given a treatment early on that will dramatically extend their lifespan. He suspects that expanding human health range may have a significantly greater effect on extending human life than finding a cure for cancer, dementia or any of the other diseases that occur with aging.

For women with diabetes, air pollution has higher heart risks


(Reuters Health) - Particle pollution like soot is a known health hazard and linked to the risk of heart disease and stroke, but women with diabetes are even more vulnerable than most people, according to a new U.S. study.
“There is a convincing literature that long-term air pollution is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Jaime E. Hart of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, adding, “a number of studies of short-term air pollution exposures have suggested that individuals with diabetes are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.”
The researchers studied 114,537 women in the decades-long Nurses’ Health Study for whom there was data on pollution exposure and health outcomes. Between 1989 and 2006 there were 6,767 cases of cardiovascular disease, 3,878 cases of coronary heart disease and 3,295 strokes in the group.
Cardiovascular disease risk rose slightly for all women with increasing exposure to the kind of tiny pollution particles that come from engine combustion, power plants and road dust.
For the women with diabetes, however, the risk increases were greater – for every additional 10 micrograms of pollution particle exposure, there was a 19 percent increase in the odds of cardiovascular disease and 23 percent increase in the odds of having a stroke.
The finest particles, known as PM 2.5, which typically come from vehicle exhaust and power plants and can enter the bloodstream after being inhaled raised risk the most. Exposure to an additional 10 micrograms of PM 2.5 pollution led to a 44 percent increase in heart disease and 66 percent increase in stroke risk, according to the results in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency safe exposure limit for PM 2.5 particles outdoors is an average of 12 micrograms, or 12 millionths of a gram, per cubic meter of air over a 24-hour period. The World Health Organization puts the limit at 20 micrograms.
Pollution was also particularly harmful for women age 70 and older, those who were obese and those living in the Northeast or South. Risks were highest in relation to pollution exposure within the previous 12 months.
“There is some evidence to suggest that when women with diabetes are exposed to air pollution that they have higher levels of air pollution and oxidative stress than women without diabetes, but I think this is an area where more research is needed,” Hart told Reuters Health by email.
“Most of the evidence suggests that the results would be similar in men, but interactions with hormones can't be ruled out,” he said.
Diabetes is an inflammatory disease, and air particles may cause further inflammation, putting more stress on the cardiovascular system, said Dr. Bart Ostro of the Air Pollution Epidemiology Section of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, who was not part of the new study.
“I know diabetics already have a lot to think about and worry about,” but taking the same steps they already take to manage their diabetes, like diet, exercise and medications, may reduce heart disease risk as well, Ostro told Reuters Health
“People downwind from power plants are definitely going to have a higher risk,” he said. “I don’t know if I would tell people to move immediately, but it’s a risk to be taken into account.”
Major roadways are also important pollution sources, he said.
“Given the vast literature on the adverse health effects of air pollution, I do believe that people should be concerned about air pollution exposures,” Hart said. “I think the recommendations for women with diabetes would be similar to advice for all women: don't smoke cigarettes, eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise and, when practical, avoid being outside in areas of high pollution.”

SOURCE: Journal of the American Heart Association, online November 25, 2015.

Immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes deemed safe in first US trial

November 25, 2015

In the first U.S. safety trial of a new form of immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D), led by UC San Francisco scientists and physicians, patients experienced no serious adverse reactions after receiving infusions of as many as 2.6 billion cells that had been specially selected to protect the body's ability to produce insulin.
 T1D is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system, which normally defends against infections, somehow goes awry and targets insulin-secreting cells, called beta cells, in the pancreas. Many T1D therapies aim to tackle this problem by suppressing the immune response, but that approach can have serious consequences, including an increased susceptibility to infection or cancer.
As reported in the Nov. 25, 2015, online issue of Science Translational Medicine, however, the cells used in the completed Phase 1 trial, known as regulatory T cells (Tregs; pronounced "tee-regs"), are instead based on the concept of "immune tolerance" - these cells have the potential to dampen the immune system's assault on beta cells while leaving its infection-fighting capabilities intact.
"This could be a game-changer," said first author Jeffrey A. Bluestone, PhD, the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor in Metabolism and Endocrinology at UCSF. "For type 1 diabetes, we've traditionally given immunosuppressive drugs, but this trial gives us a new way forward. By using Tregs to 're-educate' the immune system, we may be able to really change the course of this disease."
The encouraging safety results from the trial, conducted at UCSF by Stephen E. Gitelman, MD, professor of pediatrics, and at Yale School of Medicine by Kevan C. Herold, MD, "support the development of a Phase 2 trial to test efficacy of the Treg therapy," the research team writes.
The infused Tregs used in the trial were derived from the trial participants' own cells, using an ex vivo (outside the body) "isolation and expansion" technique first described by Bluestone and colleagues in 2009.
In this procedure, doctors remove less than two cups of blood, which in T1D patients usually contain between 2 and 4 million of the desired Tregs, commingled with millions of cells of other types. Using a method known as fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), which precisely segregates cells based on molecules they display on their surface, the therapeutic Tregs are separated and then placed into a growth medium in which they can attain a 1,500-fold increase in number.
Bluestone and colleagues have shown in previous work that Tregs recovered after this expansion are more functionally active, can repair defects in the immune system of patients with T1D and are more likely to survive long-term in the body than Tregs produced by other means.
The trial marked the first U.S. study in which large populations of Tregs created using these techniques were infused back into patients' circulation. Fourteen patients from 18 to 43 years old, all with recent-onset T1D, were organized into four groups that successively received infusions containing greater numbers of Tregs: members of the first group received about 5 million cells, and the fourth group about 2.6 billion cells.
In addition to being well tolerated by all four groups, the treatments were durable, with up to 25 percent of the infused therapeutic cells still detectable in patients' circulation a year after they had received just a single infusion.
The positive safety results from the trial are particularly reassuring, because in some instances T cells that were therapeutically introduced in cancer treatment have caused patients' immune systems to spiral out of control. Based on the Phase 1 data from this trial, New Jersey-based Caladrius Pharmaceuticals is now in the early stages of planning a Phase 2 trial of Tregs for T1D.
Trial participant Mary Rooney, 39, who was diagnosed with T1D four years ago, said she has experienced no side effects from Treg treatment. "The work of Dr. Bluestone and his team offers new hope for people with type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune disorders," Rooney said. "The Treg intervention aims to prevent the development and progression of type 1 diabetes, freeing people like me from the daily grind of insulin therapy and lifelong fear of complications. It's truly groundbreaking research with enormous potential."
In addition to their potential value as a diabetes therapy, said Bluestone, a member of the UCSF Diabetes Center, Tregs hold great promise as treatments for other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and even as therapies for cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases and obesity.
UCSF research on Tregs and other novel approaches to autoimmune diseases recently received a significant boost from the Parker Foundation, established this year by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker. In November, the foundation donated $10 million to establish the Sean N. Parker Autoimmunity Research Laboratory, with Bluestone as the laboratory's inaugural director.
"Using a patient's own cells - identifying them, isolating them, expanding them, and infusing them back into the patient - is an exciting new pillar for drug development," said Bluestone, "and we expect Tregs to be an important part of diabetes therapy in the future."
  Explore further: Drug preserves beta cells in new cases of type 1 diabetes

More information: "Type 1 diabetes immunotherapy using polyclonal regulatory T cells," by J.A. Bluestone, Science Translational Medicine,