DiabetesNetwork-Summer-2013-2014

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Brain holds diabetes clues The brain may play a key role in glucose metabolism and the development of type 2 diabetes, according to latest research, opening the door to new ways of prevention and treatment. Although the brain was originally thought to be involved in maintaining regular glucose metabolism, the focus of diabetes research/management since the 1922 discovery of insulin has centred on boosting insulin levels or increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin. In a study published in Nature , a group of researchers suggests that glucose regulation depends on a partnership between the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, the pancreatic islet cells, and neuronal circuits in the hypothalamus and other brain areas that are intimately involved in maintaining normal glucose levels. The theory runs that the development of type 2 diabetes requires a failure of both the pancreatic islet cell system

and this brain-centred system for regulating blood glucose levels. According to the researchers, the brain system is the one most likely to fail first. This puts pressure on the pancreatic islet cell system, which can compensate in the short term, but then also fails, causing further decline in the brain system. The end result: a vicious cycle of deterioration that leads to type 2 diabetes. Testing the light fantastic Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels (BGLs) could soon be blood (and pin-prick) free thanks to German researchers who have devised a non-invasive way of testing. The technology uses photoacoustic spectroscopy, involving painless application of an infrared laser light on top of the skin to measure glucose levels in fluid in and under skin cells to read BGLs – creating a measurable sound signal that researchers dub “the sweet melody of glucose”.

long-term hyperglycaemia are well known, including vascular and heart disease, eye problems, nerve damage and kidney disease. Now, a new study out of the Mayo Clinic has confirmed the suspicion that lower bone mineral density can be added to the list. Researchers performed bone mineral testing using a new tool (OsteoProbe) on 60 postmenopausal women – 30 of whom had type 2 diabetes – comparing them with a control group of women aged 50 to 80. The two groups presented no difference when it came to microarchitecture of the bone or bone density. However, the group with type 2 diabetes had significantly lower bone material strength and also experienced higher levels of hyperglycaemia over the previous 10 years, indicating potential detrimental effects of long-term glucose control outside of target range on bone quality.

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Diabetes Network – Summer 2013/14

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