Diabetes research is an ever-expanding field. Staying on top of the latest developments can be an important part of your own diabetes care plan—if nothing else, being informed can help you feel empowered.
Here, we'll look at three diabetes-related developments—one is an observation on diabetes in India, and the other two are about possible treatments for and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes rate in South Asia surges
According to The Guardian, the cultural proclivity for sweets and desserts in India, combined with rising incomes for members of the middle class, puts many people in the country at risk of type 2 diabetes.
One-third of urban South Asians have metabolic syndrome that may be predictive of type 2 diabetes. In some places in India, 90 percent of senior women are at such a risk. In addition to a poor diet—with dietary predilections and a history of famines that makes people more likely to indulge when they are able—the country is seeing precipitously dropping physical activity. The combination of a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle that is so common in America is rapidly spreading in India—a consequence of development that is bringing metabolic syndrome to the country quickly. Just as in the U.S., people in India at high risk of type 2 diabetes will likely do best with early intervention and lifestyle changes.
Researchers reverse type 2 diabetes in rats
Researchers at Yale recently reversed type 2 diabetes in rats, according to the university. An oral therapy the scientists developed reversed both type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease in rats, as well as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. The agent used, mitochondrial protonophore 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) is toxic at high levels, but effective when administered at levels well below that threshold.
"Besides reversing fatty liver disease in a rodent model of NALFD, a low-dose intragastric infusion of DNP that was 100-fold lower than toxic levels also significantly reduce blood glucose, triglyceride, and insulin concentrations in a rodent model of NAFLD and type 2 diabetes," lead researcher Dr. Gerald I. Shulman said in a release.
The team plans to further test this agent in rodents and eventually hopes to advance to clinical use in people.
Preventing type 2 diabetes in women who had gestational diabetes
A new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, followed women with a history of gestational diabetes over the course of 10 years to determine how best to prevent type 2 diabetes in this population. Gestational diabetes signals a high risk for development of type 2 diabetes in the future, according to the researchers. The chances of type 2 diabetes remain high even a decade after the gestational diabetes itself.
The study found women with a history of gestational diabetes may reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes in one of two ways. Compared to placebo, lifestyle interventions (including diet and exercise changes) reduced risk by 35 percent, while treatment with metformin, a diabetes medication, reduced risk by 40 percent.