Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce insulin, a hormone the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. Glucose is a simple sugar used for energy which is created by the body—specifically the pancreas—by breaking down the sugars and starches that are consumed.
In addition to the challenges in managing their condition, diabetics are also at an increased risk for many other serious health problems, including skin, foot, and eye complications, nerve damage, severe dehydration, ketoacidosis, and kidney disease; complications from high blood pressure; and higher risk for stroke. Here are a few more recent advancements in discovering the causes and risks of diabetes and towards improving treatment and quality of life.
- Air Pollution—One study conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System found a link between diabetes and air pollution. “We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO),” said Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, study author. Overall, the researchers estimated that pollution contributed to 3.2 million new cases globally in 2016.
- Titanium Dioxide—A study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin has concluded that Type 2 diabetes “could be a chronic crystal-associated inflammatory disease of the pancreas, similar to chronic crystal-caused inflammatory diseases of the lung such as silicosis and asbestosis,” caused by titanium dioxide, the most commonly used white pigment in paints, foods, medications, cosmetics, and more, states Adam Heller, professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering, who led the study.
- Oral Insulin—Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a pill that could replace insulin injections. Orally ingested insulin could more closely mimic the way a healthy pancreas normally makes and delivers insulin to the liver, and could mitigate the adverse effects of injections over long periods of time.
- New Drug—A new drug for Type 2 diabetes has been shown to improve blood sugar levels and help with weight loss, according to a study conducted in Germany. The drug, MEDI0382, developed by MedImmune, is administered subcutaneously and is a balanced glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucagon receptor dual agonist. The drug will now advance to larger studies. If diagnosed, diabetes can be managed and complications can be minimized.
However, more than 7 million of those with diabetes are not yet diagnosed. And, as the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, more resources, education, and treatment options are required. Research is critical to improving the lives of diabetics. Meridien Research has research studies that are enrolling now at several of our clinics. For more information or to see if you or someone you know may qualify to participate, please contact us today at 1-888-777-8839 or visit our individual study pages.