Extreme Diet Reversed Diabetes in 86% of Patients

For many folks, a “plant-based” or “Mediterranean” diet has been proven by nutritionists as the healthiest. It is linked to many benefits including healthy aging, lower risk of heart disease, improved cognitive function, slower neurodegeneration, and many others. However, for some people who have specific conditions, other regimen — perhaps in some cases, a more extreme diet — may be necessary.

That was the finding of a clinical trial from last year which involved patients with type 2 diabetes. The disease is believed to be reversible even with those who have had it for years, and the trial which made patients engage in an extreme diet attests to this belief; about 86% of those who took part in the study arrived at remission.

“These findings are very exciting,” said diabetes researcher Roy Taylor from Newcastle University. “They could revolutionise the way type 2 diabetes is treated.”

298 adults (20-65 years old) who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the previous six years participated in the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT). The participants were randomly assigned to a control group who went under the usual diabetic care or to an experimental group who went under an intensive weight management program. The latter group had to limit their food consumption to 825-853 calories for about three to five months, taking only health shakes and soups.

After this extreme diet, they were slowly reintroduced to more food for a period of two to eight weeks. Alongside it, cognitive behavioral therapy was also provided so that the patients may continue their weight loss and improve their level of physical activity.

Almost 90 percent [or about 86 percent] of those who lost 15 kilograms (33 lbs) or more, successfully reversed their type 2 diabetes. More than half (57 percent) of those dropping 10 to 15 kilograms (22 to 33 lbs) achieved remission also . . .  the control group receiving standard diabetic care management only saw a 4 percent remission rate . . . the average weight loss in the weight management group was 10 kilograms — whereas the control group participants only lost 1 kilogram.

Of course, the remission might not be permanent if patients revert back to unhealthy eating. But the researchers were able to conclude this: dietary intervention can help develop treatment options for type 2 diabetes, a disease that is no longer lifelong or chronic, but ultimately reversible.

The DiRECT program will continue to monitor the groups’ weight loss success and diabetes status. Now here’s to hoping the participants are on the direct path to healthier lifestyles.

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Rare Genetic Condition Keeps Amish From Aging

Since “you only live once” became every millennial’s official mantra, people have been on the hunt for the next health craze. Billionaires are sponsoring lab-grown meat experiments, while schools are encouraging students to try vegan lunch menus. Though diet and exercise are key to long living, an Amish community with anti-aging genes may give us some insight.

“For the first time we are seeing a molecular marker of aging (telomere length), a metabolic marker of aging (fasting insulin levels) and a cardiovascular marker of aging (blood pressure and blood vessel stiffness) all tracking in the same direction in that these individuals were generally protected from age-related changes.” [said researcher Douglas Vaughan.]

In short, members of the Amish kindred lacked a protein called PAI-1. Due to Amish locals’ genetic isolation, acquiring the mutation is almost always likely. Scientists are now testing a copycat drug on a control group.

“That was the gateway that could allow us to investigate the impact of a partial PAI-1 deficiency over a lifetime,” says Vaughan.

If the trials are successful, it may see improvements in diabetes research. Sufferers of chronic balding may even grow their hair back.

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Teen Invents AI System To Diagnose Eye Disease

The new generation of innovators is getting younger by the decade. If a thirteen-year-old can generate clean energy from traffic, what more can other kids do? Apparently this high school junior invented an artificial intelligence system to diagnose her grandfather’s eye disease.

Eyeagnosis [is] a smartphone app plus 3D-printed lens that seeks to change the diagnostic procedure from a 2-hour exam requiring a multi-thousand-dollar retinal imager to a quick photo snap with a phone.

[Kavya] Kopparapu and her team… trained an artificial intelligence system to recognize signs of diabetic retinopathy in photos of eyes and offer a preliminary diagnosis.

Medical jargon aside, the device would make testing more efficient and accessible. Kopparapu is also passionate about empowering young girls interested in computer science. She not only founded the Girls Computing League, she regularly hosts coding workshops for marginalized kids.

In order to create Eyeagnosis, Kopparapu did a lot of Googling and contacted numerous experts. She then taught a retired system to do the work.

In November, she shipped her first 3D-printed prototype for the system’s lens to the hospital. When fitted onto a smartphone, the lens focuses the phone’s diffuse, off-centered flash to best illuminate a retina. The complete Eyeagnosis system has already been tried on five patients at the hospital, and in each case it made an accurate diagnosis.

It may be intimidating to the older, non-techie generation, but the world of science could use more kids like Kopparapu.

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Potential Cure For Diabetes Involves Mice

Often the guinea pigs of science, mice have surely seen better days. However, in a recent study on treatment options for diabetes, the mice tested experienced no side effects. In fact, they may have led us to a cure.

The discovery, made at The University of Texas Health Science Center… increases the types of pancreatic cells that secrete insulin.

UT Health San Antonio researchers have a goal to reach human clinical trials in three years, but to do so they must first test the strategy in large-animal studies, which will cost an estimated $5 million.

Talk about cash for a cause! To achieve the cure, researchers used a therapy method called gene transferring.

A virus is used as a vector, or carrier, to introduce selected genes into the pancreas. These genes become incorporated and cause digestive enzymes and other cell types to make insulin.

The therapy regulates blood sugar in mice with extreme accuracy, which is something insulin hasn’t quite mastered. Gene transferring, however, replicates the characteristics of lost beta cells in diabetics.

So far, 2017 has been a milestone year for medical advancements. Alongside diabetes, treatments for ALS have also seen some improvements. So whether we’d like to think otherwise, a lot of medical breakthroughs wouldn’t be possible without our good old friend Mickey.

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Color-Changing Tattoos Can Save Your Life

Most tattoo enthusiasts spend months to years contemplating the perfect design. I, on the other hand, take hours to decide whether to do Chinese take-out or cold pizza for dinner. And while body art is aesthetic and meaningful–can it be practical? MIT certainly thinks so. New color-changing ink technology can indicate changes in the body’s blood sugar and sodium levels.

Using a liquid with biosensors instead of traditional ink, scientists want to turn the surface of the human skin into an “interactive display.”

So far, the team has developed three different inks that shift color in response to changes in interstitial fluid.

The three inks measure glucose, pH, and sodium, which is a breakthrough for diabetics. For those on a strict diet (or simply nerds in the health data department), monitoring intakes and bodily adjustments has never been easier.

Unfortunately, the bio-sensing tattoos are still being tested and no human trials have been announced.

So far, DermalAbyss is only in the proof-of-concept stage, and there’s no indication of when it might become a real product.

Pigs, on the other hand, are seeing some luck.

The researchers have tested the inks on patches of pig skin, using injections to change the levels of the fluids to be detected.

Would you get a color-changing tattoo?

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