Archive for September, 2010
A balanced diet and regular exercise can protect the brain and ward off mental disorders, a new review of research states.
A daily life intervention program for people with type two diabetes resulted in substantial improvements in several health procedures over a four-year period.
The study involved 2,570 overweight and obese people with type two diabetes who were put on a diet and exercise program designed to reduce their weight by 7% in the first year and maintain that loss over the next three years.
A control group of 2,575 people were assigned to a less intensive diabetes support program.
The intervention group lost 6.2% of their body weight on average, compared with 0.9% in the control group.
They also had significantly better improvements in levels of fitness, blood sugar control, blood pressure and HDL cholesterol (the good kind). The control group had better improvement in their LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) levels because they were more expected to be taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.
“The important question is whether the differences between groups in risk factors will translate into differences in the development of cardiovascular disease,” the researchers wrote. “These results will not be available for several extra years.”
There is an increased need for individuals to eat grapefruit currently in season as experts have found that the bitter flavour in the grapefruit, which is called, naringenin, is an antioxidant that can treat diabetes and high blood cholesterol level, reports Sade Oguntola.
The health benefits of grapefruit seem to be endless ranging from alleviating insomnia, loosing weight to warding off the common cold. But that is not all, grapefruit can also treat unhealthy cholesterol levels, fight metabolic syndrome and improve glucose levels, so putting off diabetes.
Although, regular exercise, acquiring certain lifestyle and dietary changes can help to control the level of blood sugar, hence reducing the reducing the risk of contacting diabetes, experts have suggested that consuming grapefruit and other citrus fruits can help fight diabetes as well.
Type 2 Diabetes develops when insulin resistance sets in and then causes problems in delivering the glucose in the bloodstream to the cells for energy.
Scientists pointing to yet another sweet side of grape fruit in the journal PLoS ONE, said the antioxidant that give grapefruit its bitter taste can do the same job as two separate drugs currently used to treat type- two- diabetes after it was tried out on human and rat liver cells in the laboratory.
If you ever wandered why grapefruit is bitter, know that it is because of the presence of the flavonoid naringin, which the intestines break down into naringenin.
They declared that the way it works is a process similar to the Atkins Diet, although without many of the side effects. The antioxidant helps increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps patients maintain a healthy weight by encouraging the liver to burn fat instead of storing it. The grapefruit amazingly breaks down fatty acids in the same way the body does during fasting.
The grapefruit, a somewhat “new” addition to the citrus family and a natural cross–breeding between an orange and pomelo, they declared, when extended to human patients and similar results are achieved, could turn naringenin, the antioxidant it contains to a dietary supplement in the treatment of high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and perhaps metabolic syndrome.
But to get the best from this grapefruit, when eating or juicing grapefruit, peel off the skin while leaving as much of the albedo (the white matter under the skin) intact as much as possible because it contains the highest amount of valuable bioflavonoids and other anti–disease agents.
Until clinical trials are carried out in humans, it is not possible to say whether the bitter constituents in grapefruit, naringenin, might be an effective medical treatment for diabetes or whether it carries side effects. So, diabetics or other individuals taking medications should not attempt to replace or supplement their prescribed medication with grapefruit.
Grapefruit can negatively interact with other prescription medications such as blood pressure medications. While grapefruit juice contains many nutrients, including vitamin c, potassium and lycopene, there are chemicals in the juice and pulp that interfere with the enzymes that break down various drugs in the digestive system.
Nevertheless, adding a little more grapefruit to your diet maybe a good idea if you are a diabetic or at risk for diabetes.
In order to control the development of diabetes, as well as, prevent the disease completely, a study also revealed the food items that individuals should consume to avoid diabetes.
While the experts in the study suggested that consuming white rice may increase the risk of contracting diabetes, as it causes a sharp increase in glucose levels, they highlighted that wholegrain products were better because they release glucose more slowly as compared to their white counterparts.
Other food items suggested by experts that control the disease are onions, citrus fruits and cinnamon, which have the ability to regulate insulin activity. In addition, to the list was oatmeal cereal, which helps to control the level of blood sugar,
In addition, increasing intakes of green leafy vegetables such as spinach may reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by about 15 per cent. According to a meta-analysis of six studies, the benefits of green vegetables like spinach in protecting against diabetes may be linked to their antioxidant content– beta-carotene, vitamin C, polyphenols and magnesium.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers declaring that ‘foods’ rather than isolated components such as antioxidants are beneficial for health, stated that there is a growing body of evidence that lifestyle modification is an important factor in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
The findings, a useful reminder that giving dietary advice may be just as good, if not better, than prescribing drugs also draws attention to the potential benefits of green leafy vegetables, which could be incorporated as one of the five recommended portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Nonetheless, drugs or dietary supplements that could potentially lower the production of bad cholesterol known as LDL, in addition to treating some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes could therefore have a dramatic effect on healthcare expenditures and public health.
The potential of using a naturally occurring dietary supplement to regulate lipid metabolism is appealing as this by-product of the grapefruit juice and vegetables like spinach is non-toxic, cheap, and has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties.
SCIENTISTS AT Trinity College Dublin have come up with a possible new way to treat the onset of type 2 diabetes. They identified a substance that helps to trigger damage associated with the disease, opening the possibility of new drug therapies.
Type 2 diabetes is a world health issue given its increasing incidence, largely driven by obesity, explained Prof Luke O’Neill, professor of biochemistry in Trinity College Dublin’s Immunology Research Centre.
It is “a big problem in Ireland”, Prof O’Neill said. “There is a huge need to come up with new treatments.”
Estimates suggest that up to 14 per cent of the Irish population over 40 have diabetes, and a tenth of the entire healthcare budget is spent treating diabetes and its complications, Prof O’Neill said.
More than 2,000 people die here every year as a result of diabetes-related diseases.
Diabetes occurs when the body cannot properly regulate sugar levels in the body. This in turn causes damage to a wide range of tissues over time if not controlled by giving the hormone insulin.
Symptoms include fatigue, blurred vision, slow wound healing particularly in the extremities and damage to organs. It also leaves diabetics with a higher risk of heart attacks.
Type 1 diabetes usually arises in childhood when the pancreatic cells that make insulin are destroyed by the body’s own immune system.
Type 2 usually arises later and in the main is a lifestyle disorder, in particular brought on by obesity.
Both types leave the body unable to regulate sugar levels, with type 2 controlled by insulin tablets and a careful diet. Both also are linked to an inappropriate immune response that sees our protective immune cells causing damage to the pancreas.
The researchers have opened the way for new treatments as a result of their discovery, details of which were published online yesterday by the leading journal, Nature Immunology.
“We have found what might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in type 2 diabetes,” stated Dr Seth Masters, lead author of the publication.
It is all down to a substance known as Islet Amyloid Polypeptide (IAPP), Prof O’Neill said.
“We have come across a key protein in the body called IAPP. This irritates the immune system in the body,” Prof O’Neill said. “It is a breakthrough because nobody has come across this before.”
The effect of IAPP is to ramp up the immune response where it occurs in the pancreas.
NICE gave its backing to wider use of once-a-day Victoza (liraglutide), designed to help patients stabilise their blood sugar levels.
The drug can be used on obese people as well as diabetics who are not overweight. It acts by reducing appetite and stimulating the release of insulin.
The drug itself differs from insulin in its make-up and provides patients with a “step” between oral tablets and going on to insulin.
NICE has published draft guidance recommending a 1.2mg dose of the drug each day was suitable for some diabetics, but adding there did not appear to be any extra benefit gained from a higher 1.8mg dose.
Victoza must be taken in combination with other diabetes drugs, according to the the guidance, and treatment should only be continued if the patient is benefiting.
Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and inactive lifestyles.
Dr Carole Longson, health technology evaluation centre director at NICE, said: “There are about 2.5 million people in the UK living with diabetes – 90% of whom have type 2 diabetes.
“It is a serious, progressive disease, and so we are pleased to be able to recommend liraglutide 1.2mg daily as a clinically and cost effective treatment option for some patients with type 2 diabetes.”
Evidence from the manufacturer Novo Nordisk suggests almost 5,500 patients would go on to the drug in the first year.
There is a flurry of activity surrounding the controversial Avandia diabetes pill. The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) drug “no longer has a place on the UK market.” The chair of the European Medicines Agency scientific advisory group on diabetes argues the pill should be withdrawn. And the same sentiment is expressed by the BMJ, a leading medical journal, in an editorial that accompanies an investigation into regulatory footdragging.
Moreover, the EMA on Wednesday will hold an extraordinary meeting to review Avandia in advance of a regularly scheduled meeting later this month that will finalize its decision. “Doctors were advised not to use the tablet in anyone who was at risk of heart failure,” says Edwin Gale, who chairs the EMA scientific advisory group on diabetes. “How long do you wait? How important is it to be absolutely certain and at what point do you start saying – this game isn’t worth it, people’s lives may be at risk, something should be done about it?”
The move comes as the FDA undertakes its own deliberation after an advisory committee two months ago recommended the diabetes pill remain available, but with restrictions, underscoring a delicate policy question for an agency that has been beset with infighting for three years over questions surrounding Avandia.
Meanwhile, BMJ reports that the UK’s Commission on Human Medicines – an independent panel advising the goverment – had actually recommended in July that Avandia should be withdrawn. But the MHRA, instead, sent a July 26 letter to doctors that merely advised them to “consider alternative treatments where appropriate.” Now, however, an MHRA spokesman says the agency has communicated its flip-flop “robustly” to the EMA and would highlight its concerns at this week’s special meeting.
In her editorial, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee writes that Avandia “should not have been licensed and should now be withdrawn,” and she called for systemic changes.
Europe’s regulators should be much more transparent. They should require a higher quality of evidence, including proof that new drugs are better than existing drugs before being licensed. And if they do ask the manufacturer to undertake post-marketing trials, they must do a better job of overseeing the way these trials are designed and done…
We all need the pharmaceutical sector to flourish and innovate. We should also seek to modify the increasingly destructive relationship between industry and the public. This would require concessions on both sides: far greater transparency from industry and the regulators, including access to raw data and funding for independent trials; and greater understanding from the public that there is no such thing as a completely safe drug.
The Commission on Human Medicines said the “risks of rosiglitazone (Avandia) outweigh its benefits” and called for prompt action.
Clinical pharmacologist Yoon Loke of the University of East Anglia estimated that the drug causes around 1,000 extra heart attacks a year in Britain, reports the Daily Mail.
Avandia was approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2000 to help reduce blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes, the form that usually strikes in middle and old ages, reports the British Medical Journal.
It became one of the best-selling global drugs, with sales of more than £1.5 billion. In Britain, doctors wrote out more than a million prescriptions for it last year at a cost of around £30 million.
The warning, which raises concerns about the way drugs are tested and regulated, comes in the wake of calls for its withdrawal by the committee responsible for drug safety in the UK, three months ago.
But despite the warning to the general practitioners to alert them, patients were not informed and thousands are still on the drug.
Experts stressed that patients should not stop taking medication without first seeing their doctor – but urged doctors to review the way they treated diabetes.
Its manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, said: “Extensive research showed the drug was safe and effective”.
Jerrold Olefsky and colleagues identified a key receptor on macrophages abundantly found in obese body fat. Obesity and diabetes are closely correlated. The scientists say omega-3 fatty acids activate this macrophage receptor, resulting in broad anti-inflammatory effects and improved systemic insulin sensitivity.
Obese fat tissue contains lots of these macrophages producing lots of cytokines, which cause inflammation and rising insulin resistance.
Olefsky and colleagues eventually narrowed their focus to a G-protein receptor called GPR120, which is found only on pro-inflammatory macrophages in mature fat cells. When the receptor is exposed to omega-3 fatty acids, it is activated and generates a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
“The omega-3 fatty acids switch on the receptor, killing the inflammatory response,” said Olefsky
“Our work shows how fish oils safely do this, and suggests a possible way to treating the serious problems of inflammation in obesity and in conditions like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease through simple dietary supplementation,” he added.
However, it’s not clear how much fish oil constitutes a safe, effective dose. If too high, it could up the risk of to increased risk of bleeding and stroke in some people.
A new study has found that diabetics using the drug metformin can reduce the risk of getting lung cancer . The drug seems to block the development of tumours on animals, but it is hoped that it will also be effective for humans, as there have been early indications that smokers who take metformin to treat their diabetes have a lower incidence of cancer .
The study involved treating mice with metformin for a 13-week period after they were exposed to the cancer-causing agents found in tobacco smoke. The number of tumours in mice that had been given metformin decreased by up to a half if the drug was given by mouth, and by 72 per cent if it was injected.
If metformin indeed lowers the risk of getting lung cancer for diabetics, it could be the first drug treatment that could prevent smoking-related cancer before it takes hold. However, even if proven successful, the drug will not deter other smoking-related illnesses, including heart problems and emphysema .
Phillip Dennis, senior investigator in the medical oncology branch of the National Cancer Institute in America, recently commented that “This well-tolerated diabetes drug was able to prevent tobacco-carcinogen-induced lung tumors.”