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Boosting the effects of vitamin D to tackle diabetes -- ScienceDaily

The underlying process has to do with transcription -- the way that genes are translated into proteins. Combining the new compound with vitamin D allowed certain protective genes to be expressed at much higher levels than they are in diseased cells. "Activating the vitamin D receptor can trigger the anti-inflammatory function of genes to help cells survive under stressed conditions," says Michael Downes, a Salk senior staff scientist and co-corresponding author. "By using a screening system that we developed in the lab, we've been able to identify an important piece of that puzzle that allows for super-activation of the Vitamin D pathway."

'Mono' virus linked to 7 serious diseases: Epstein-Barr virus may affect health in more ways than known -- ScienceDaily

The new paper shows that seven seemingly unrelated disease states actually share a common set of abnormal transcription factors, each affected by the EBNA2 protein from the Epstein-Barr virus. When these EBNA2-related clusters of transcription factors attach themselves to one portion of the genetic code, the risk of lupus appears to rise. When those same transcription factors land on another part of the code, the risk of multiple sclerosis appears to rise. And so on. "Normally, we think of the transcription factors that regulate human gene expression as being human," Kottyan says. "But in this case, when this virus infects cells, the virus makes its own transcription factors, and those sit on the human genome at lupus risk variants (and at the variants for other diseases) and that's what we suspect is increasing risk for the disease."

Risk of type 1 diabetes climbs when one population of T cells falls: Study in mice links protective immune cells that form outside the thymus with autoimmune diabetes -- and suggests that gut microbes affecting this cell population may protect against disease -- ScienceDaily

The researchers now hypothesize that microbes in the gut, where most of this pTreg cell population is switched on, may be responsible for generating these protective cells and thus protecting against the autoimmune attack on pancreatic beta cells that cause type 1 diabetes. "Most of these pTregs are made in the gut," Kissler says. "We know both that gut microbes promote the development of pTregs, and that gut microbes have an impact on type 1 diabetes." Many studies in mouse models, and more recent research among human populations as well, have correlated differences in gut microbe populations with risks of developing the autoimmune condition.

The relevance of GABA for diabetes -- ScienceDaily

The two current studies, now published in EBioMedicine, reinforce the image of GABA's importance, for both types of diabetes. The scientists used ion channels that GABA opens, the GABAA receptors, as a biological sensor for GABA, and were able to determine the effective, physiological GABA concentration levels in human pancreatic islets. They also showed that these ion channels became more sensitive to GABA in type 2 diabetes and that GABA helps regulate insulin secretion. The scientists then isolated immune cells from human blood and studied the effects GABA had on these cells. They show that GABA inhibited the cells and reduced the secretion of a large number of inflammatory molecules. The anti-inflammatory effect of GABA may be vital in the pancreatic islets since as long as GABA is present, toxic white blood cells can be inhibited, thus increasing the survival of the insulin-secreting beta cells. When the beta cells decrease in number and disappear from the islets as happens in Type 1 diabetes, then GABA consequently is also decreased and, thereby, the GABA protective shielding of the beta cells. When inflammatory molecules increase in strength, it may weaken and even kill the remaining beta cells.

Analysis shows wearable data could help identify mental health conditions in diabetic populations | MobiHealthNews

Kumar said that individuals with mental health illnesses (MHI) are also at a higher risk for developing diabetes than those without. This is because MHI is associated with unhealthy eating habits, less physical activity and a potential increase in weight.  The analysis, which was complied by using data from general Achievement use, found that diabetes patients that self-reported symptoms of MHI walk on average 1,469 steps less per day than those without MHI symptoms. The mean daily steps taken by diabetes patients with no MHI symptoms was 7,032, compared to patients with MHI symptoms who walked 5,663 steps a day.  Participants with MHI symptoms had a lower frequency of days with high activity levels and more frequent days with lower activity levels than their counterparts without MHI symptoms. There was little difference in sleep between the two groups; patients with MHI symptoms slept an average of 6.48 hours and those with MHI symptoms slept an average of 6.72 hours.  The analysis looked at survey results from 1,330 participants with diabetes. Three hundred and thirty-six or 25.3 percent reported having some MHI in the last year. Of that 77 percent reported having anxiety symptoms and 23.7 percent reported having some form of depression.

Trace elements of lithium in drinking water linked to longer life in Alzheimer's patients -- ScienceDaily

"We found counties that had above the median level of lithium in tap water (40 micrograms per litre) experienced less increases in Alzheimer's disease mortality over time, whereas counties below that median level had even higher increases in Alzheimer's deaths over time," says Fajardo. The frequency of obesity and Type 2 diabetes also went down when the drinking water contained similar lithium levels, the researchers found. Fajardo says he and his team focused on Texas because data on lithium levels were "freely available." Previous studies have demonstrated lithium's ability to protect against Alzheimer's disease, obesity and diabetes.

Low vitamin D = 4-5X increase in risk of type 1 diabetes

A Swedish epidemiologic study published in the December 2006 issue of Diabetologia found that sufficient vitamin D status in early life was associated with a lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Nonobese mice of a strain predisposed to develop type 1 diabetes showed an 80% reduced risk of developing the disease when they received a daily dietary dose of 1,25(OH)D, according to research published in the June 1994 issue of the same journal. And a Finnish study published 3 November 2001 in The Lancet showed that children who received 2,000 IU vitamin D per day from 1 year of age on had an 80% decreased risk of developing type 1 diabetes later in life, whereas children who were vitamin D deficient had a fourfold increased risk. Researchers are now seeking to understand how much UVR/vitamin D is needed to lower the risk of diabetes and whether this is a factor only in high-risk groups.

The Benefits of Exercising Before Breakfast - The New York Times

At the end, the nonexercising group was, to no one’s surprise, super-sized, having packed on an average of more than six pounds. They had also developed insulin resistance — their muscles were no longer responding well to insulin and weren’t pulling sugar (or, more technically, glucose) out of the bloodstream efficiently — and they had begun storing extra fat within and between their muscle cells. Both insulin resistance and fat-marbled muscles are metabolically unhealthy conditions that can be precursors of diabetes. The men who ate breakfast before exercising gained weight, too, although only about half as much as the control group. Like those sedentary big eaters, however, they had become more insulin-resistant and were storing a greater amount of fat in their muscles. Only the group that exercised before breakfast gained almost no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance. They also burned the fat they were taking in more efficiently. “Our current data,” the study’s authors wrote, “indicate that exercise training in the fasted state is more effective than exercise in the carbohydrate-fed state to stimulate glucose tolerance despite a hypercaloric high-fat diet.”

The Best Thing to Eat Before a Workout? Maybe Nothing at All - The New York Times

Most obviously, the men displayed lower blood sugar levels at the start of their workouts when they had skipped breakfast than when they had eaten. As a result, they burned more fat during walks on an empty stomach than when they had eaten first. On the other hand, they burned slightly more calories, on average, during the workout after breakfast than after fasting. But it was the impacts deep within the fat cells that may have been the most consequential, the researchers found. Multiple genes behaved differently, depending on whether someone had eaten or not before walking. Many of these genes produce proteins that can improve blood sugar regulation and insulin levels throughout the body and so are associated with improved metabolic health. These genes were much more active when the men had fasted before exercise than when they had breakfasted.

The Best Thing to Eat Before a Workout? Maybe Nothing at All - The New York Times

“If we just think of this in evolutionary terms,” he said, “our ancestors would have had to expend a great deal of energy through physical activity in order to hunt and gather food. So, it would be perfectly normal for the exercise to come first, and the food to follow.”

Is the surge in type 2 diabetes related to indoor life (video games + NFL)

Specialists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) studied pancreatic ɑ- and β- cells that are in charge of the production of insulin and glucagon, two hormones that regulate glucose levels in the blood. They discovered that already at cellular levels, these internal clocks orchestrate the timing of proper hormone secretion, thus optimizing body metabolism by anticipating the rest-activity and feeding-fasting cycles. Their misalignment would thus favor the occurrence of metabolic diseases. Their discovery, to be read in the journal Genes and Development, highlights an essential factor, yet still poorly understood, which may explain diabetes development as a consequence of circadian misalignments of these cellular clocks. With type 2 diabetes affecting younger and younger people in the western world, researchers work on understanding how lifestyle changes in recent decades contribute to this ever-expanding epidemic, in the view of finding news strategies to curb it.

Insulin resistance may lead to faster cognitive decline: Executive function, memory are particularly vulnerable to the effects of insulin resistance, researchers say -- ScienceDaily

nsulin resistance is a condition in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin. The resistance prevents muscle, fat, and liver cells from easily absorbing glucose. As a result, the body requires higher levels of insulin to usher glucose into its cells. Without sufficient insulin, excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, leading to prediabetes, diabetes, and other serious health disorders. The scientists followed a group of nearly 500 patients with existing cardiovascular disease for more than two decades. They first assessed the patients' baseline insulin resistance using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA), calculated using fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin levels. Cognitive functions were assessed with a computerized battery of tests that examined memory, executive function, visual spatial processing, and attention. The follow-up assessments were conducted 15 years after the start of the study, then again five years after that. The study found that individuals who placed in the top quarter of the HOMA index were at an increased risk for poor cognitive performance and accelerated cognitive decline compared to those in the remaining three-quarters of the HOMA index. Adjusting for established cardiovascular risk factors and potentially confounding factors did not diminish these associations.

Cellular jetlag seems to favor the development of diabetes -- ScienceDaily

studied pancreatic ɑ- and β- cells that are in charge of the production of insulin and glucagon, two hormones that regulate glucose levels in the blood. They discovered that already at cellular levels, these internal clocks orchestrate the timing of proper hormone secretion, thus optimizing body metabolism by anticipating the rest-activity and feeding-fasting cycles. Their misalignment would thus favor the occurrence of metabolic diseases. Their discovery, to be read in the journal Genes and Development, highlights an essential factor, yet still poorly understood, which may explain diabetes development as a consequence of circadian misalignments of these cellular clocks.

Study finds wearables may help detect serious illness | MobiHealthNews

Led by geneticist Dr. Michael Snyder, researchers looked at 2 billion measurements from 60 people. Study participants wore between one and seven commercially available activity trackers (including Masimo, Basis and Scanadu) and other monitors, which were compared to the university’s standard clinical vital signs monitors. The devices collected 250,000 measurements per day, and researchers worked to establish a baseline range of values for each participant by collecting essential data like weight, heart rate, skin temperature, sleep, activity and caloric burn and exposure to gamma rays and X-rays. From there, the Stanford team was able to monitor deviations from each person’s normal baseline and associate the changes with environmental conditions (like flying in an airplane), illness, and other health-impacting factors. The team found two health-related observations – wearables were useful in identifying the onset of Lyme disease and inflammation, allowing them to build an algorithm for personalized disease detection using wearable sensors. They also found the sensors can reveal physiological differences between insulin sensitive and insulin-resistant people, meaning they could have the potential to help identify those at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Modest physical activity associated with improvement in markers, data suggests -- ScienceDaily

Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) sought to examine the relationship of physical activity and inactivity, to insulin resistance and biomarkers of inflammation. Participants were asked to wear accelerometers during the day to estimate the amount of physical activity, as well as time spent being less active ("sedentary time"). These measurements were then compared to chemical markers of insulin resistance, inflammation and metabolism found in blood. They found that increased levels of physical activity (below what is required for weight loss) were associated with decreased insulin resistance as well as biomarkers of inflammation. The researchers also demonstrated that among individuals who spent more time sedentary, their blood contained higher levels of leptin, a chemical produced in fatty tissue that causes satiety, and FABP4 (fatty acid binding protein 4), a protein involved in the transport of fat molecules.

How to Avoid Becoming Diabetic

For almost a decade, Swedish GP Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt has been counseling his pre-diabetes, T2 diabetes, and obese patients to switch to a low-carb, high-fat diet. “In weeks and months they got better, their diabetes reversed and they could get off drugs,” said Dr Eenfeldt, who in 2007 started a non-commercial Swedish website, dietdoctor.com. In 2010 his book Low Carb High Fat Food Revolution became a Swedish bestseller and was translated into eight languages. In 2011, he started the English dietdoctor.com site.

Oxytocin, diabetes and mental health

OT system dysfunction may be one common mechanism underlying MetS and psychotic disorders.