A hot bath reduces the risk factors for type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes affects approximately one million Australians and 400 million people worldwide.
People with diabetes have complications that affect their quality of life and reduce their life expectancy. They are four times more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes, three times more likely to suffer kidney failure and 15 times more likely to have amputations than non-diabetics.
Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia, and nearly half of people with diabetes suffer from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety.
Current drugs can be effective, but they have limited tolerability and significant side effects.
Injections once a week
A study by the University of Melbourne found that the SMOC1 protein, naturally produced by the liver, can lower blood sugar levels.
Researchers have developed a long-lasting form of SMOC1 that, if it works the same in humans as it does in mice, only requires a weekly injection.
In mice, SMOC1 is more effective than metformin, the current frontline drug in type 2 diabetes, in improving blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. It also avoids the risk of causing dangerously low blood sugar with current medications.
SMOC1 also lowers cholesterol levels in fatty liver and blood, which are common health problems in type 2 diabetes patients.
Non-invasive blood glucose testing
Investigations by Dr. Masakazu Aihara and colleagues at the University of Tokyo, Japan, found that the level of glucose in tears is closely related to the level of glucose in the blood. In addition, the glycoalbumin levels in tears reflect the average blood sugar level over the past two weeks. Measuring these biomarkers in tears is one possible way to monitor the disease that does not require blood samples.
Other Japanese researchers have developed a microneedle patch to monitor glucose levels using a paper sensor. The device painlessly monitors the fluid in the skin within seconds. Anyone can use the disposable patch without training, which makes it extremely convenient.
Enzyme linked to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance
Australian scientists at the Centenary Institute at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney have found that insulin resistance and glucose intolerance are caused by the lack of an enzyme in the liver called sphingosine kinase 2. This suggests a new approach to treatment for diabetics whose blood glucose levels are dangerously high.
Dr. Hisayuki Katsuyama of Kohnodai Hospital in Japan and colleagues found that a daily hot bath reduced risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including glycated hemoglobin, a measure of blood sugar control. It also leads to a decrease in diastolic blood pressure.
Will Metformin Benefit You?
Metformin is the drug of choice for lowering blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, but one-third of patients do not respond and some experience serious side effects. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have now identified biomarkers that can use a simple blood test to show how the patient reacts to treatment with metformin.
“We have found biomarkers that can identify which patients benefit from metformin and tolerate it. This will advance personalized therapy for type 2 diabetes, ”says Professor Sonia García-Calzón.
Using electromagnetism to control blood sugar
Diabetic mice exposed to electromagnetic fields for a few hours a day have normal blood sugar and a normal response to insulin without medication or injections.
“We built a remote control to treat diabetes,” says Calvin Carter of the University of Iowa.
“The effects are long-lasting and open up the possibility of electromagnetic therapy that can be used while sleeping to help manage diabetes throughout the day.”
The new study shows that electromagnetism alters the balance of oxidants and antioxidants in the liver and improves the body’s response to insulin. “
The results were published in Cell Metabolism last month.