Help is at hand with five new treatments in tackling diabetes 8



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Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and one of the biggest challenges confronting Australia’s health system.

Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, including approximately 500,000 who are yet undiagnosed.

With figures showing at least 280 Australians develop the disease every day, it’s good to know emerging technology can deliver the help needed to tackle diabetes.

At the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, the Australian Society for Medical Research presented the latest exciting diabetes developments.

Replacing insulin-producing cells

University of Adelaide professor Toby Coates has been working on the “ultimate cure” for Type 1 diabetes — new sources of insulin-secreting tissues for transplant. He presented a 3D printing replacement insulin-producing cells saying, “What we’ve done is we’ve taken some cells, we’ve printed them into three dimensions and we’ve shown that cells survive…”

Coates says research has found organs could actually be made, blood vessels could be put in, and cells could be placed to stop rejection, and it can be done right here, in Australia.

Stem cells for wound healing

Professor Allison Cowin has been focussing on the wounds that form and don’t heal in patients with diabetes. A leader in regenerative medicine research at the University of South Australia Future Industries Institute, Cowin says chronic wounds often lead to amputations and patients usually die within the following five years. Her research has found stem cells can be delivered to the wound and then changed into the cells required to heal the wound.

“I think it’s an exciting opportunity for patients who at the moment do not have options,” Cowin says, highlighting that human trials are at least 12 months away.

Dietary changes

Adelaide scientists are at the forefront of research on how dietary changes can help those suffering Type 2 diabetes. It has found that in some cases eating for better health and nutrition has eliminated the need for diabetes medication.

Leading the SAHMRI nutrition and metabolism team is professor Chris Proud. He says, “It’s all a bit controversial but I’ll be talking about studies done here in Adelaide and also in the United Kingdom showing how changing your diet to eat less carbohydrate or decreasing your total intake of food or calories can reduce the effects of the disease…”

No more painful pricks

Australian adults with diabetes now have the option of using a new glucose monitoring device, which eliminates the need for regular finger pricking. The Abbotts FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System has been available in Europe for years and has made the lives of diabetes sufferers much easier. It works by having a small sensor the size of a 20 cent coin worn on the upper arm for 14 days, which can be scanned to get a blood glucose level reading in less than one second up to 12 times a day. It is also water resistant, meaning users can wear it while bathing, showering, swimming and exercising.

Supporting mental health and wellbeing

Registered nurse Lauren Botting says supporting the mental health and wellbeing of people diagnosed with diabetes is still not being done very well, but it’s certainly a lot better thanks to her Diabetes Consultancy service. She says it’s important people recognise all shapes and sizes get diabetes, and that practising mindfulness can make a big difference to a person’s quality of life.

Do you or does someone you know have diabetes? Are these developments positive in the fight against diabetes?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Good treatment in tackling diabetes. In July of 2015. it was discovered that I got type 2 diabetes, By the end of the July month. I was given a prescription for the Metformin, I stated with the ADA diet and followed it completely for several weeks but was unable to get my blood sugar below 140, Without results to how for my hard work. I really panicked and called my doctor. His response?? Deal with it yourself, I started to feel that something wasn’t right and do my own research, Then I found Rachel’s great blog (google ” HOW I FREED MYSELF FROM THE DIABETES ” ) .. I read it from cover to cover and I started with the diet and by the next morning. my blood sugar was 100, Since then. I get a fasting reading between the mid 70s and 80s, My doctor was very surprised at the results that. the next week. he took me off the Metformin drug, I lost 30 pounds in my first month and lost more than 6 inches off my waist and I’m able to work out twice a day while still having lots of energy. The truth is that we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods..

  2. Obviously an American article as the comments refer BGLs of 140 and losing 30 pounds. Surely we can have an Australian article.

  3. If the government is so concerned about the health of the public then why don’t they put a 70 % tax on soft drinks? Instead of targeting the minority group of smokers! All the money from the sugar tax should be put back into the hospital system. At the same time addressing the obesity problem in Australia.

    1 REPLY
  4. The sensor referred to in this article may work well but at a cost of $200 every two weeks makes it less painful to do the ordinary finger pricks.

  5. Digestion of sugars (carbohydrates) starts in the mouth with the production of a digestive enzyme called ptyalin. Together with chewing and the production of saliva this ptyalin breaks down sugars into semi-digested bits. The stomach also produces enzymes which break down the partly digested sugars more still. The small intestine does the same thing with some more enzymes, after which insulin breaks it down into glucose and galactose to be stored in the liver or absorbed in the blood. As you can see this is a process of various steps, each step necessary to break sugar down sufficiently for the next step. If one step in this process fails to do its job the other steps can’t do theirs either.
    In this process Maltose needs maltase to be digested. Lactose needs lactase to be digested, sucrose needs sucrase, dextrose dextrase, and so on.

    When breastfed, we produce a digestive enzyme called lactase to digest the sugar (lactose) in mothers milk. This sugar is necessary to supply energy to be able to digest the massive amounts of proteins meant to double the weight of infants in less than one year.

    Once we are past weaning the production of lactase ceases at some time in our lives. The trouble is, we don’t know when!!!!.
    Some of us stop producing lactase early in life and some later in life. But when this production of lactase stops we become unable to complete an important step in the process of sugar digestion. This leads to lactose intolerance and, eventually, allergy to dairy, which depletes the immune system and leads to disease.
    We have seen before that insulin can only work with sugars that have undergone ALL steps of the digestive process. Insulin is ineffective with undigested sugars. The brain however recognizes the fact that there is too much (undigested) sugar in the system, and triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin, which is equally ineffective, and so on. This is called type 2 Diabetes .
    If we have an allergy to a particular food item, the immune system is triggered by the brain to produce histamines and Immuno-Globulins (I.G’s) to fight what it considers to be a foreign invasion.
    The digestive system is NOT triggered to do anything.
    Dr Carlson, An American Physicist and researcher, failed in repeated attempts to produce a digestive response by having his test subjects chew on anything but what the brain considers to be food. None of the digestive organs is activated! This, of course, includes the islets in the pancreas.
    So diabetes is NOT a malfunction of the pancreas but, rather, the pancreas not being triggered by the brain, the Bio-computer on receiving what it considers to be a non-food item!
    To summarise;
    Diabetes 1 is caused by the pancreas not being triggered to produce insulin because of allergies.
    Diabetes 2 is caused by the pancreas producing insulin which is ineffective in converting undigested sugars (lactose) into glucose and galactose.

  6. That dairy is the causative agent in diabetes has been known for a long time, witnessing the following articles;
    “Studies have suggested that bovine serum albumin is the milk protein responsible for the onset of diabetes… Patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus produce antibodies to cow milk proteins that participate in the development of islet dysfunction… Taken as a whole, our findings suggest that an active response in patients with IDDM (to the bovine protein) is a feature of the autoimmune response. ( New England Journal of Medicine, July 30, 1992)

    “Introduction of dairy products and high milk consumption during childhood may increase the child’s risk of developing juvenile diabetes (Diabetologia 1994;37(4):381-387)

    “These new studies, and more than 20 well-documented previous ones, have prompted one researcher to say the link between milk and juvenile diabetes is ‘very solid’.”
    Diabetes Care 1994;17(12)

    “Studies have suggested that bovine serum albumin is the milk protein responsible for the onset of diabetes… Patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus produce antibodies to cow milk proteins that participate in the development of islet dysfunction… Taken as a whole, our findings suggest that an active response in patients with IDDM (to the bovine protein) is a feature of the autoimmune response.” (New England Journal of Medicine, July 30, 1992)

    “Antibodies to bovine beta-casein are present in over a third of IDDM patients and relatively non-existent in healthy individuals. ( LANCET, October, 1996, 348)

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