Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bless the mice

They're at it again, sacrificing themselves to find us a cure for diabetes. And this one sounds less invasive than the last research they had to undergo. These lucky (and possibly very brainy) mice were working at Harvard University where scientists found that adding a fourth drug, an enzyme called alpha 1 anti-trypsin, to a previously used cocktail it stopped the immune system from attacking the beta cells. It's a basic repair the pancreas job. Doesn't that sound exciting? We'd still have to take a bunch of drugs, but at least we wouldn't have to inject them.
Scientists are hoping to start testing it on human guinea pigs soon, so, thanks mice for all your hard work on this job.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rodent Research

Let's give another big hand to the mice over at Novocell Research facility. The wee beasties were implanted with embryonic stem cells which then produced insulin. The cells kept the mice's blood sugar in check even after their insulin-producing cells were destroyed. And just to make sure that wasn't a fluke the scientists then removed the implanted cells and what do you know? Their blood glucose levels went up.
Unfortunately some of the mice developed tumors and died so there's a long way to go before we can throw away the insulin and the pumps. After all we don't want the cure to be worse than the disease, do we? But over the past few years we seem to be getting closer with each new piece of research.
Now if we can only hurry up and improve robot technology, no mice will need to be harmed in our quest to live diabetes-free.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Artificial Sweeteners Trick The Brain

Artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain. A study by Purdue University researchers found rats fed saccharin in yoghurt gained more weight than those fed glucose in yoghurt.
I have only three things to say: Told you so, told you so, told you so.
I'm so glad to get that out of my system.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Recent studies and my 2c worth

There's been a bunch of diabetes-related reports hitting the press recently, so many that it provoked my blogging nerve, so here's my take. There will be opportunities for me to say "I told you so". A more charitable person might not do it. Believe me, I will. You can comment, or not, as you see fit.
Firstly, the study from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases on the effects of low blood sugar on the heart health of Type II diabetics. The study, as you probably know by now, didn't show that lowering BG lowered the risk of heart attacks, it actually increased them. This seems to be a big surprise to everyone. They halted the study and from what I've read in the press are standing around scratching their heads and looking perplexed. Well am I the only person around here who knows that large amounts of insulin will stop your heart? Like any other medicine there's a fine line between something doing you good and something killing you. And if your beta cells are still functioning, no matter how poorly, all that extra synthetic insulin can be a problem.
Secondly, when I was diagnosed Type I (a million twenty+ years ago), the Head of Diabetic Medicine said to me: We're striving for tight control. BUT REMEMBER, don't strive so hard that you go too low because you'll bounce back up. That's what we want to avoid. That's what causes complications. No one ever mentioned it to me again but I never forgot it because it made sense. All those cells and blood vessels fighting to regulate themselves can't be good for the arteries or the nerves. Once again, if you give Type II diabetics too much insulin guess what'll happen.
Thirdly, there's the drug interaction to look at as well. The people in the study were taking many drugs. I don't think the body is designed to take many drugs. I take many drugs and I know this to be true, to lower my blood pressure I now take three drugs, yet my blood pressure is the same as it's always been. Too high. The drugs made zero difference. But here's the kicker. I can't stop taking any of them or even lower the dosage because my blood pressure skyrockets. They do no good, but I'm dependent on them. The therapy made things worse. I'd maintain here that it would have been better to say my blood pressure is higher than normal, it's always been so and we should leave it as such. But I drank the Kool-Aid. I don't think I'm the only one that this holds true for and I think there's too much aggressive therapy going on when we really don't know the long term effects.
I laughed when I read the final line from the interview with Dr Dove of The American College of Cardiology “It is a great study and very well run,” Dr. Dove said. “And it certainly had the right principles behind it.”
But maybe, he said, “there may be some scientific principles that don’t hold water in a diabetic population.”
Or maybe you need to reassess your scientific principles, Dr? Maybe it's not us, maybe it's you?
Another study on metabolic syndrome seems to show that Diet Soda plays a big role in the disease. Well, yeah. I told you that stuff is poison, right? And I was roundly mocked. I think I mentioned that it was a friend who was allergic to wheat who first told me I could cure the reoccurring bouts of thrush I got after a course of antibiotics by giving up Diet Coke. I did it, the thrush disappeared and it never came back. I also told you that your body thinks that stuff is sugar. And it does. Only it's worse, it's chemical sugar. That's bad for your body. Very, very bad. Bad enough to cause metabolic syndrome.
Finally, from the DUH department of medical research, it seems that obesity may be largely genetic! Well, DUH, DUH, DUH. I am now officially speechless.