Posts tagged with "diabetes"

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Rice Team Creates New Treatment for Diabetes

Rice University bioengineers are using 3D printing and smart biomaterials to create an insulin-producing implant for Type 1 diabetics.

 

The three-year project is a partnership between the laboratories of Omid Veiseh and Jordan Miller that’s supported by a grant from JDRF, the leading global funder of diabetes research. Veiseh and Miller will use insulin-producing beta cells made from human stem cells to create an implant that senses and regulates blood glucose levels by responding with the correct amount of insulin at a given time.

Veiseh, an assistant professor of bioengineering, has spent more than a decade developing biomaterials that protect implanted cell therapies from the immune system. Miller, an associate professor of bioengineering, has spent more than 15 years researching techniques to 3D print tissues with vasculature, or networks of blood vessels.

“If we really want to recapitulate what the pancreas normally does, we need vasculature,” Veiseh said. “And that’s the purpose of this grant with JDRF. The pancreas naturally has all these blood vessels, and cells are organized in particular ways in the pancreas. Jordan and I want to print in the same orientation that exists in nature.”

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin, the hormone that controls blood-sugar levels. About 1.6 million Americans live with Type 1 diabetes, and more than 100 cases are diagnosed each day. Type 1 diabetes can be managed with insulin injections. But balancing insulin intake with eating, exercise and other activities is difficult. Studies estimate that fewer than one-third of Type 1 diabetics in the U.S. consistently achieve target blood glucose levels.

Veiseh and Miller’s goal is to show their implants can properly regulate blood glucose levels of diabetic mice for at least six months. To do that, they’ll need to give their engineered beta cells the ability to respond to rapid changes in blood sugar levels.

“We must get implanted cells in close proximity to the bloodstream so beta cells can sense and respond quickly to changes in blood glucose,” Miller said. “We’re using a combination of pre-vascularization through advanced 3D bioprinting and host-mediated vascular remodeling to give each implant several shots at host integration.” 

The insulin-producing cells will be protected with a hydrogel formulation developed by Veiseh, who is also a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Scholar. The hydrogel material, which has proven effective for encapsulating cell treatments in bead-sized spheres, has pores small enough to keep the cells inside from being attacked by the immune system but large enough to allow passage of nutrients and life-giving insulin.

“Blood vessels can go inside of them,” Veiseh said of the hydrogel compartments. “At the same time, we have our coating, our small molecules that prevent the body from rejecting the gel. So it should harmonize really well with the body.”

If the implant is too slow to respond to high or low blood sugar levels, the delay can produce a roller coaster-like effect, where insulin levels repeatedly rise and fall to dangerous levels.

“Addressing that delay is a huge problem in this field,” Veiseh said. “When you give the mouse, and ultimately a human, a glucose challenge that mimics eating a meal, how long does it take that information to reach our cells, and how quickly does the insulin come out?”

By incorporating blood vessels in their implant, he and Miller hope to allow their beta-cell tissues to behave in a way that more closely mimics the natural behavior of the pancreas.

Black Rob and Sean Combs illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Black Rob Has Passed Away

Black Rob, Rapper and Former Bad Boy Artist, Has Passed Away at 52 Years Old

Best known for his 2000 single “Whoa!” the rapper was recently hospitalized in Atlanta

Robert Ross, the rap artist known as Black Rob, died April 17 at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Fellow Bad Boy rapper Mark Curry stated the cause of death was cardiac arrest, according to Pitchfork. He added that Black Rob was dealing with a number of health issues prior to his death, including lupus, kidney failure, diabetes, and multiple strokes. Black Rob was 52 years old.

“I don’t know where to begin this, but I thank everybody for the donations. Rob passed away about an hour ago,” a teary-eyed Curry said in a video. “I need for his daughter, Iona Ross, little Robert Ross, y’all get in touch with me, please.”

In a second video, Curry stated that he had spoken to Bad Boy founder Combs for the first time in 15 years following Rob’s passing.

“I just want to say thank you. We really did some amazing stuff. RIP to my brother. I was dead with him, I was dead with him,” Curry said. “I ain’t talk to Puff in 15 years. We talked today. This is the beginning of a new us. Rob made sure he knew what he had to do before he parted this world to make sure we all alright — and that’s what he did. Bad Boy for life, yo.”

Diddy posted a tribute on Instagram, stating: “Rest in power King @therealblackrob! As I listen to your records today there’s one thing that they all have in common! You have made millions of people all over the world feel good and dance! You are one of a kind! GOD BLESS! Love. You will be truly missed!!!!”

Born Robert Ross in Buffalo, N.Y., the Bad Boy rapper grew up in East Harlem where he began rapping as a preteen leading to the formation of his first group, the Schizophrenics. He released four studio albums, his most successful being his 2000 debut “Life Story.” Rob is best known for his hit single “Whoa!” which peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100. Along with Curry, Rob was featured on Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ “Bad Boy 4 Life,” which charted at No. 33. Though he left Bad Boy Records in the mid-2000s, Rob reunited with the crew for select dates of the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour in 2016.

health illustration for 360 Magazine

UVA Tests Different Approach to Managing Type 2 Diabetes

A researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine is testing what he calls a “radically different” approach to managing type 2 diabetes for those who can’t or don’t want to lose weight.

Daniel Cox, PhD, professor of psychiatry and internal medicine, said his program “flies in the face of conventionality” in that it doesn’t insist on weight loss as a key component of controlling blood sugar. Instead, it combines continuous glucose monitoring with well-informed eating choices, to understand the effect of different foods on blood-sugar levels, and well-timed exercise, to reduce those levels as needed.

“The convention is ‘lose weight.’ And if you lose weight, you lose belly fat, and if you lose belly fat, you lose adipose tissue in the liver. And that, in turn, reduces insulin resistance,” Cox said. “That’s all fine and good. And if you can, in fact, lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off for a long time – a lifetime – you’re golden. You can even put diabetes in remission. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, and it’s a very effective approach. But some people don’t need to lose weight, and some people don’t want to lose weight, and other people want to lose weight but they can’t, or they can’t keep it off for a lifetime.”

A Different Take on Diabetes Management

Cox’s approach relies on continuous glucose monitoring to help people understand how their food choices affect their blood sugar. Different foods may affect people differently, he notes.medicine

Continuous glucose monitoring involves wearing a sensor on the back of the arm that continually sends a signal to a receiver that shows the person’s blood glucose level, without the need for fingersticks. Continuous glucose monitoring lets people see how a particular food affects their blood-glucose levels, whether it’s a sugary slice of cake or a seemingly healthy bowl of oatmeal, Cox said. Understanding that lets them make smart choices to keep their blood sugar under control.

If they do choose to indulge in a sugar-spiking food, the program encourages them to use light exercise, such as walking, to help bring their blood sugar back into check.

“This is the innovation: One, you dampen how much [blood sugar] goes up by minimizing the amount of carbohydrate you eat, and, two, you hasten its recovery by becoming more physically active,” Cox said. “Physical activity does two things: One, the skeletal muscle burns blood glucose as fuel, and, two, physical activity reduces your insulin resistance for a short period of time, about 24 hours.”

“Instead of fixing supper and having a great dinner and then plopping in front of the TV for the rest of the night, the alternative is becoming more physically active,” Cox said. “Do your shopping after you eat, walk the dog after you eat, clean your house after you eat.”

About the Diabetes Clinical Trial

Cox, of UVA’s Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, is testing his approach in small clinical trials at UVA, West Virginia University and the University of Colorado. Each site is recruiting four people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who have not yet begun taking medication. The participants will be provided with a treatment manual, continuous glucose monitors and activity/sleep trackers. Trial organizers will then check in with them virtually over several weeks to see how well the approach keeps their blood sugar under control.

The study is the latest in a series evaluating the approach. Cox said he has been encouraged by previous results but notes that “there’s no one approach that works for everybody.”

“In our 12-month follow-up study, slightly over half of participants – 52 percent of people – we would still classify as responders, meaning they’re having a significant benefit,” he said.

For the right people, he said, the approach may offer a way to control blood sugar without medication or with less medication, while still allowing flexibility in dietary choices. “We’re not asking for radical changes in lifestyle,” he said. “We’re asking for modest changes in lifestyle that directly impact blood sugar.”

For More Information

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog at http://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu.

Joshua S. Yamamoto, M.D., F.A.C.C. ,You Can Prevent A Stroke, 360 MAGAZINE, author, book

World Stroke Day is Coming (Oct. 29th)

By: Joshua S. Yamamoto, M.D., F.A.C.C. (Author, You Can Prevent A Stroke)

The best way to treat a stroke is to prevent it.


Yes, You Can Prevent a Stroke, and remember, prevent is an active verb.


A stroke is damage to the brain from interrupted or inadequate blood. When we don’t get blood to the brain, it dies. Fundamentally, when we maintain adequate circulation to the brain, we prevent strokes.

Recognizing that our circulation naturally ages gives us the chance to be proactive in maintaining our health and preventing the otherwise inevitable changes that cause strokes.

Strokes are considered a “disease of aging.” This is true. But “aging” is much better understood than it once was. Aging is largely predictable. That makes it measurable and manageable. In fact, there is almost no such thing as cardiovascular disease, it’s mostly just natural aging.


Everyone ages, even Olympic athletes. No one is immune. We have 100,000 heart beats a day. That’s a lot of wear and tear. This internal aging is what leads to plaque build-up in arteries, increased strain and work in the heart, and the inevitability of less reliable and irregular heartbeats. These are the internal changes which cause strokes.


“Risk Factors” like diabetes, smoking, unfavorable lipids and higher blood pressure, are best thought of as things that accelerate natural aging. But there are two key things to remember: we are all dealt a genetic hand when we are born. We can not change the cards we are dealt, but we can choose how we play them. Secondly, time always passes.
The inevitable internal changes of aging do not produce symptoms before they lead to brain damage. That’s why we call heart and vascular disease the silent killer. It may be silent, but it is not invisible.


We can see it, long before it causes problems. But you need to look. No one knows their health on the inside until they look, but looking is easy and painless. We can use tools like ultrasound and extended cardiac monitoring. Once you know your health on the inside, then you can work with your doctor to actively prevent a stroke.


Our lifestyle choices and personal effort (that is, our diet and exercise) make a difference, but only to a point. Ultimately, genetics and time will matter more. If we want to prevent a stroke, think: “D-HART.”


Have a Doctor, and ask-


What is the health of my Heart (and how do we know)?


What is the health of my Arteries?


What is my heart’s Rate and Rhythm?


Is it Time to do something or start a medication?


Ask these questions so you can make informed decisions on how to navigate your own aging because, You Can Prevent a Stroke.

Expert Offers 10 Tips for Surviving Bottomless Brunch Without Hurting Your Liver

Now that brunch season is upon us, the last thing anyone wants to think about at their weekend gathering is how the fluffy French toast and fruity sangria they’re enjoying is affecting their health and how best to avoid hurting their liver. Lucky for them, that is where Dr. Tarek Hassanein of Southern California Liver Centers comes in.

Dr. Tarek Hassanein is a liver specialist who doesn’t believe in completely eliminating the fun from your life in the name of health. Instead, he has bcreated 10 tips to navigating your bottomless brunch. By offering your audience this advice, you are helping them navigate their upcoming boozy gathering with friends and family without negatively affecting your health…or your fun.


10 Tips for Navigating Your Next Boozy Brunch

1.       Savor your meal before drinking. Don’t drink on an empty stomach.

2.       Enjoy your beverage. Do not overeat and Sip your drink.

3.       Avoid binging. Binge drinking is 5 drinks or more in less than 4-5 hours.

4.       Keep your number of drinks as low as possible. Don’t consume more than 3 drinks for a man and 2 for a woman.

5.       Know your alcohol. One beer is equivalent to a glass of wine or a shot of liquor.

6.       Find a driver. Don’t drive after drinking. It is hard to judge your blood alcohol level and its effects on your cognitive ability and reflexes.

7.       Take your meds. If you are a diabetic or hypertensive, suffering from a heart or liver condition, take your daily medications, and check with your doctor to avoid alcohol interactions with your medications.

8.       Avoid overdoing pain meds. If you are going to use Tylenol, don’t exceed more than 3 grams in one day. Be aware that a lot of headache medicines or pain killers contain acetaminophen (Tylenol), so avoid accidental overdosing.

9.       Don’t mix. Avoid mixing alcohol with other recreational drugs.

10.     Space your beverages out. Allow your body the ability to metabolize what you ingested and avoid intoxication.

Why Whole Grain?

Whole grain can contribute to health by changing intestinal serotonin production

Adults consuming whole grain rye have lower plasma serotonin levels than people eating low-fibre wheat bread, according to a recent study by the University of Eastern Finland and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In the study, the consumption of cereal fibre from rye or wheat was also found to reduce serotonin levels in the colon of mice. In light of the results, the health benefits of whole grain cereals may be linked, at least in part, to the alteration of serotonin production in the intestines, where the majority of the body’s serotonin is produced. The results of were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The consumption of whole grain cereals has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. There may be effects on bioactive compounds contained in whole grains, phytochemicals and fibres from which different metabolites are produced by intestinal bacteria.

The new study explored how the consumption of wholegrain rye modulates concentrations of different metabolites in the bloodstream. The study employed untargeted metabolite profiling, also known as metabolomics, which can simultaneously detect numerous metabolites, including those previously unknown.

For the first four weeks of the study, the participants ate 6 to 10 slices a day of low-fibre wheat bread, and then another four weeks the same amount of wholegrain rye bread or wheat bread supplemented with rye fibre. Otherwise, they didn’t change their diet. At the end of both periods, they gave blood samples, which were analysed by a combination of liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Their plasma metabolite profiles between the different diet periods were then compared.


The consumption of wholegrain rye led to, among other things, significantly lower serotonin concentrations when compared to consumption of low-fibre wheat bread. The researchers also tested in mice whether the addition of cereal fibre to the diet changes serotonin production in the intestine. The diet of the mice was supplemented for nine weeks with rye bran, wheat bran or cellulose flour. The mice receiving rye or wheat bran had significantly lower serotonin in their colon. For additional information on supplements and how they can modify diets go to website


Serotonin is best known as a neurotransmitter in the brain. However, serotonin produced by the intestines remains separated from the brain, serving various peripheral functions including modulation of gut’s motility. Increased blood serotonin has also been associated with high blood glucose levels.

“Whole grain, on the other hand, is known to reduce the risk of diabetes, and on the basis of these new results, the effect could at least partly be due to a decrease in serotonin levels,” says Academy Research Fellow Kati Hanhineva from the University of Eastern Finland.

The researchers are also interested in the association of serotonin with colorectal cancer.
“Some recent studies have found cancer patients to have higher plasma serotonin levels than healthy controls,” Scientist Pekka Keski-Rahkonen from IARC adds.

The consumption of wholegrain rye bread was also associated with lower plasma concentrations of taurine, glycerophosphocholine and two endogenous glycerophospholipids. In addition, the researchers identified 15 rye phytochemicals whose levels in the bloodstream increased with the consumption of rye fibre.

 

Risks of an Animal Protein Diet

Diet rich in animal protein is associated with a greater risk of death

A diet rich in animal protein and meat in particular is not good for the health, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland finds, providing further backing for earlier research evidence. Men who favored animal protein over plant-based protein in their diet had a greater risk of death in a 20-year follow-up than men whose diet was more balanced in terms of their sources of protein. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Men whose primary sources of protein were animal-based had a 23% higher risk of death during the follow-up than men who had the most balanced ratio of animal and plant-based protein in their diet. A high intake of meat in particular seemed to associate with adverse effects: men eating a diet rich in meat, i.e. more than 200 grams per day, had a 23% greater risk of death during the follow-up than men whose intake of meat was less than 100 grams per day. The men participating in the study mainly ate red meat. Most nutrition recommendations nowadays limit the intake of red and processed meats. In Finland, for example, the recommended maximum intake is 500 grams per week.

The study also found that a high overall intake of dietary protein was associated with a greater risk of death in men who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at the onset of the study. A similar association was not found in men without these diseases. The findings highlight the need to investigate the health effects of protein intake especially in people who have a pre-existing chronic medical condition. The mean age of the men participating in the study was 53 years at the onset, and diets clearly lacking in protein were not typical among the study population.

“However, these findings should not be generalized to older people who are at a greater risk of malnutrition and whose intake of protein often remains below the recommended amount,” PhD Student Heli Virtanen from the University of Eastern Finland points out.

Earlier studies have suggested that a high intake of animal protein, and especially the consumption of processed meats such as sausages and cold cuts, is associated with an increased risk of death. However, the big picture relating to the health effects of protein and different protein sources remains unclear.

The study is based on the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) that analyzed the dietary habits of approximately 2,600 Finnish men aged between 42 and 60 at the onset of the study in 1984-1989. The researchers studied the mortality of this study population in an average follow-up of 20 years by analyzing registers provided by Statistics Finland. The analyses focused on the associations of dietary protein and protein sources with mortality during the follow-up, and other lifestyle factors and dietary habits were extensively controlled for, including the fact that those eating plenty of plant-based protein followed a healthier diet.

6 Therapies To Alleviate Pain Linked To Diabetes And Other Health Issues

The complications associated with diabetes are many, and chronic pain is common for many who suffer from the disease – especially back pain.

Most adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, and almost half suffer neck pain. Usually, an injury or other musculoskeletal issue is associated with either affliction, although on occasion a disease may be linked to the problem as well.

Just as an example of the latter, researchers at the University of Sydney recently found that diabetics are at significantly higher risk of lower back pain and neck pain. While the report couldn’t establish a causal relationship between type 2 diabetes and back or neck pain, the research team pointed to preventable problems, such as obesity and lack of exercise, as contributing factors.

But whatever the source of any neck or back problem, finding that underlying cause is key to developing a treatment program that can both alleviate the pain and act as a form of prevention, says Dr. Bradford Butler, a chiropractor and author of The Blueprint for Back Pain Relief: The Essential Guide to Nonsurgical Solutions (www.drbradfordbutler.com).

“Most patients have a combination of problems causing their pain,” Butler says. “It’s very rare that just one thing needs to be treated.

“It doesn’t make sense to treat just the symptoms and not fix what is causing them. Many people, however, aren’t getting the correct therapy, so to them it’s no longer fixable. But it is – as well as preventable in the future with the right therapy.”

Butler has tips on treatments that can heal neck and back pain:

  • Acupuncture. Like chiropractic, acupuncture is a mystery to many people. “Its roots are deep in health and healing, and not in back pain alone,” Butler says. “More and more medical research is showing how incredibly effective it can be. Some studies show that it’s more effective than pain medications, and acupuncture produces actual results – it doesn’t just mask the symptoms.”
  • Chiropractic care. This a popular way to solve joint problems associated with almost all back and neck problems. “A spinal adjustment is the safest and most effective way to mobilize the joints,” Butler says. “Flexibility and range of motion of the affected segments is increased, disc circulation is improved and nerves function better.”
  • Massage therapy. “Massage is a powerful healing tool,” Butler says. “It helps to treat pain, inflammation, and spasm associated with back pain of all levels.” A highly trained massage therapist aids in breaking down scar tissue and increasing blood flow to the affected area, which accelerates healing while aiding the body in lymphatic drainage.
  • Neuromuscular reeducation. There are two different types of muscles that control the spine: voluntary and involuntary. “Voluntary muscles control global movements of your entire spine or region, movements such as bending and turning,” Butler says. “Involuntary muscles are controlled directly by the brain and central nervous system. Neuromuscular reeducation uses specific exercises and movements to stimulate your brain to retrain these involuntary muscles and make a better connection.”
  • Physical therapy. “Physical therapy helps increase range of motion, strengthens the spine against injury, and improves posture and gait,” Butler says. “Some people think about physical therapy only as it pertains to post-injury, post-surgical recovery, but it’s also critical to longevity.”
  • Spinal decompression. “This therapy has been a game-changer in the treatment of patients with back pain who have degenerated, bulging, or herniated discs,” Butler says. “It’s the most advanced nonsurgical treatment for discs. It can be used for discs in the neck or lower back.”

“Singular treatments rarely work,” Butler says. “A properly designed plan should include multiple therapies for most people if the goal is to fix the problem.”

Getting to the Heart of the Problem

Although it is well known that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability among all Americans, there is still a misconception that it primarily affects older, white men.

The truth is, the risks are even higher for African Americans. African Americans have higher rates of heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Currently, 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of heart disease in the U.S.

Experts say there are several reasons why heart disease disproportionally affects the black community ranging from genetic to environmental factors. There are simple ways to control certain risk factors to reduce your risk for heart disease – it can be as simple as changing your daily habits.

Lifestyle Changes Can Include:
-Healthy diet
-Be physically active every day
-Reduce stress
-Quit smoking

During Heart Health Month, Dr. Wayne Batchelor, an interventional cardiologist and member of the Association of Black Cardiologists, is available to explain what you need to know if you have a risk factor that’s out of your control, how to talk to your doctor and the latest advancements in treatment options.

NasalGuard®

A Topical Gel that Reduces Inhalation of Harmful Airborne Contaminants Makes National Debut

Perfect for Flu and Cough Cold Season, Indoor Pollutants, Pet Allergies and More

Trutek Corp. announces the launch of NasalGuard®Airborne Particle Blocker®. NasalGuard is an electrostatic topical nasal gel that prevents airborne particles from entering the nose. The product is drug-free and safe for pregnant or nursing women, children, and those concerned about potential drug interactions with other medications. It is a perfect solution to guard you against the Flu/Cough/Cold and all indoor pollutants this winter season.

NasalGuard protects against virtually all types of contaminants in any location. Users can count on it to work in their homes, offices, and other environments where airborne particles may present a health hazard. The product works immediately upon application and lasts up to six hours. NasalGuard gel uses a cationic (positively-charged) polymer that creates a safe electrostatic field around the nasal passages that traps oppositely charged particles and repels similarly charged particles to reduce inhalation of most harmful airborne particles before they enter your body. NasalGuard gel can be purchased online, Amazon or by calling 855-627-2545 in a 3 gram tube for $11.85.

Every day, people are exposed to millions of airborne particles in crowded, confined spaces such as airports, airplanes, transportation centers and subways, homes and offices, hospitals, doctor’s offices and movie theaters. Using NasalGuard gel regularly will help protect against the immediate and long-term risk of breathing harmful contaminated air.

There has been a growing public health concern globally regarding the adverse health effects caused by the inhalation of microscopic airborne particles. Asthma, diabetes, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease are all proven to be linked to air contamination. In response to this widespread problem, Trutek has successfully advanced their technology which was originally focused on blocking allergens from entering the nose for preventing allergy symptoms. This breakthrough provides a greater electrostatic blocking effect that is effective against a much wider spectrum of microscopic indoor and outdoor contaminants including mold, pollen, pet dander, pollution, and virus-sized particles.

NasalGuard technology was invented by Ashok Wahi, the founder and CEO of Trutek Corp., an R&D Product Development Company. An engineer by training, Ashok was inspired to create this technology to aid his own daughter, Aikta, who suffered from severe allergies. “I developed this product because of the vital need to have some kind of personal air filter that was drug free and easy to use,” says Ashok Wahi.

About Trutek Corp.

Trutek Corp. has been marketing patented NasalGuard technology all over the world since 1995. Over 12 million tubes have been sold with no reports of adverse effects.

Follow us on Facebook @nasalguard