A friend of mine has type 1 diabetes, for which she injects a synthetic insulin called Humalog. When she does, there's a quick but very powerful aroma of... Band-Aids. It's weird. I never thought much of it, until the last time I had a peaty glass of scotch, a drink I've never particularly loved. As I took my first sip, I thought, as I always do, that it smelled like... the same Band-Aids. A quick poll of PopSci editors revealed that I wasn't alone in associating the smell of scotch with non-food: others thought of Sharpies, hospitals, and wood stain. Why would scotch, a drink beloved by many for centuries, remind people of things that are so thoroughly not delicious? As it turns out, the resemblance is not at all a coincidence.
Private companies and hospital researchers are increasingly making strides toward developing an artificial pancreas, supplanting insulin injections and pinpricks for patients with diabetes. Such a system would mimic the functions of a healthy pancreas, delivering insulin and monitoring blood sugar according to a computer’s careful calculations.
Patients who consumed only 600 calories a day for two months were able to reverse their Type 2 diabetes, according to a groundbreaking British study. The research, involving just 11 patients, suggests a very low-calorie diet can remove fat that clogs the pancreas, allowing normal insulin secretion to be restored, according to Newcastle University.
Seven of the 11 patients remained free of diabetes three months after the study, researchers said.
Russian authorities have approved the first xenotransplantation treatment – the implanting of animal cells into the human body – for sale in that country, marking the first time such a treatment has been appoved anywhere. The type 1 diabetes treatment involves inserting insulin-producing pig cells coated in seaweed into the human pancreas to replace native cells that have been depleted there.
Men with type-1 diabetes might be able to grow new insulin cells from their own testicular tissue, according to a new study. Testicular treatment could even be safer and more effective than stem-cell therapies.
By Lauren GravitzPosted 07.28.2010 at 2:00 pm 8 Comments
A new, implantable sensor that wirelessly transmits blood-glucose data has the potential to completely change the way most diabetics control their disease.
The round device is just a bit smaller than a Double-Stuf Oreo -- about 1.5 inches wide and half an inch thick -- and would be implanted in a person's torso. It's hermetically sealed, with an integrated antenna that wirelessly transmits data, a long-lived battery, and a pair of sensors.
A team of Australian chemistry students have strengthened the chemical bonds of insulin to make it stable even at warm temperatures -- a breakthrough that could simplify diabetes management. The finding could shed light on how insulin works, and eventually lead to insulin pills, rather than injections or pumps.
A new diagnostic test developed by researchers at ETH Zurich can tell if a patient has Type I diabetes, but gone are the days of blood samples and lab work. The new nanotech sensor can tell instantly if a patient has diabetes or an associated complication called diabetic ketoacidosis by simply analyzing a sample of exhaled breath.
In 1922, Canadian scientists isolated insulin for the first time. Now, over 80 years later, our neighbors to the north are helping diabetics again by devising the cheapest way yet to produce insulin. This advance could significantly reduce the expense of treating the disease, which currently costs the US $132 billion dollars a year.