Viral Vector Delivered Gene Therapy That Reversed Diabetes in Mice Interview with:
Xiangwei Xiao, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Department of Surgery,
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine,
Pittsburgh, PA What is the background for this study?

Response: Diabetes is a prevalent chronic disease characterized by persistently high blood glucose. Diabetes has two main subtypes, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, resulting in high blood levels of glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the beta cells do not produce enough insulin or the body is not able to use insulin effectively.

Continue reading

Increased Diabetes Risk in African Americans Explained by Greater Obesity Rates Interview with:

Michael P. Bancks, PhD Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois 

Dr. Bancks

Michael P. Bancks, PhD
Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know that the disparity in diabetes between black and white youth and young adults is growing, but the reasons why are unclear. We also know that traditional risk factors for diabetes, such as obesity and low socioeconomic status, are more common among blacks as compared with whites.

Our study describes how the unequal rates of these traditional diabetes risk factors explain or account for the higher rates of diabetes among blacks.

Continue reading

Weaning To Hydrolyzed Infant Formula Did Not Reduce Risk of Type 1 Diabetes Interview with:
“Baby Bottle” by brokinhrt2 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Mikael Knip, MD, PhD

Professor of Pediatrics
TRIGR PI What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Experimental studies have indicated that the avoidance of early exposure to cow’s milk proteins reduces the cumulative incidence of autoimmune diabetes in animal models of human type 1 diabetes, e.g. BB rats and NOD mice. Epidemiological studies in humans have suggested that there may be a link between type 1 diabetes and short breastfeeding or early introduction of infant formulas. All regular infant formulas contain intact cow’s milk proteins.

The main finding was that weaning to an extensively hydrolyzed formula did not reduce the cumulative incidence of Type 1 diabetes in at-risk children by the mean age of 11 years.

The extensively hydrolyzed formula did not contain any intact cow’s milk proteins but only small peptides (maximal size 2000 daltons).

Continue reading

Hypoglycemia All Too Common In Hospice and End of Life Care Interview with:
Dr. Laura A. Petrillo MD
Instructor in Medicine
Harvard Medical School, and Palliative Care Physician
Massachusetts General Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hospice is end-of-life care focused on maximizing quality of life. Hospice often involves reducing or stopping treatments that are unlikely to have short-term benefit in order to avoid uncomfortable side effects. About a quarter of Americans die in nursing homes, and some of them receive hospice care in their final days. We looked at whether adults with type 2 diabetes experience low blood sugar while on hospice in veterans’ nursing homes, since low blood sugar signals inappropriately aggressive diabetes treatment in patients close to death and contributes to unnecessary discomfort.

We found that one in nine people experienced low blood sugar at least once while receiving hospice care. Among people who were on insulin, the number was one in three.

Continue reading

Deep Learning System Can Screen For Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration Interview with: staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. Illustration depicting diabetic retinopathy

Illustration depicting diabetic retinopathy

Dr. Tien Yin Wong MD PhD
Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore National Eye Center,
Duke-NUS Medical School, National University of Singapore
Singapore What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Currently, annual screening for diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a universally accepted practice and recommended by American Diabetes Association and the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) to prevent vision loss. However, implementation of diabetic retinopathy screening programs across the world require human assessors (ophthalmologists, optometrists or professional technicians trained to read retinal photographs). Such screening programs are thus challenged by issues related to a need for significant human resources and long-term financial sustainability.

To address these challenges, we developed an AI-based software using a deep learning, a new machine learning technology. This deep learning system (DLS) utilizes representation-learning methods to process large data and extract meaningful patterns. In our study, we developed and validated this using about 500,000 retinal images in a “real world screening program” and 10 external datasets from global populations. The results suggest excellent accuracy of the deep learning system with sensitivity of 90.5% and specificity of 91.6%, for detecting referable levels of DR and 100% sensitivity and 91.1% specificity for vision-threatening levels of DR (which require urgent referral and should not be missed). In addition, the performance of the deep learning system was also high for detecting referable glaucoma suspects and referable age-related macular degeneration (which also require referral if detected).

The deep learning system was tested in 10 external datasets comprising different ethnic groups: Caucasian whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, Chinese, Indians and Malaysians

Continue reading

Older Diabetes Drug Metformin May Resensitize Tumors to Chemotherapy Interview with:

Terra G Arnason, MD PhD, Associate Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK, Canada 

Dr. Arnason

Terra G Arnason, MD PhD, Associate Professor,
Division of Endocrinology,
Department of Medicine
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK, Canada What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Response: Metformin has been used worldwide for decades to treat Type diabetes.

Metformin is a cheap non-toxic compound that was originally plant derived. In the past decade a number of meta-analyses have demonstrated that Type 2 individuals taking
metformin have a reduced risk of developing many different cancers and do better
longterm. The molecular events facilitating metformin’s activity remain obscure and
it is unknown whether metformin can help cancer patients avoid the development of
drug resistant cancers years after successful treatment.

In our study we asked whether metformin can not only restore sensitivity of multiple drug resistant tumors to chemotherapy once again, but whether metformin can prevent the development of multiple drug resistance in the “rst place. We demonstrate that metformin can sensitize drug resistant cells to chemotherapy once again, which supports recent
studies, but we also show for the “first time that Metformin can prevent the
progression of cancer cells towards drug resistance using cell culture experiments.

Continue reading

Diabetic Atherosclerosis Management Can Be Personalized Using Coronary Artery Calcium Score Interview with:
Dr. MalikDr. Shaista Malik MD PhD MPH
Director of Samueli Center For Integrative Medicine
Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
University of California, Irvine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Having diabetes has been considered to be a risk equivalent to already had a myocardial infarction for predicting future cardiovascular events.  We were interested in testing whether further risk stratification in those with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, using coronary artery calcium (CAC), would result in improved prediction of cardiovascular events.

We found that CAC score was associated with incident coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease more than a decade after the scoring was performed.  We also found that even after we controlled for the duration of diabetes (of 10 years or more), insulin use, or hemoglobin A1c level, coronary artery calcium remained a predictor of cardiovascular events.

Continue reading

Despite More A1C Testing, Diabetes Control Plateaus Interview with:
Saeid Shahraz, MD, PhD
Heller School of Social Policy and Management
Brandeis University
Waltham, Massachusetts What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous researchers had shown a significant improvement in diabetes control in the US between the years 1998 and 2010. We wanted to show if the betterment in diabetes control continued after then.

As previously, we measured hemoglobin A1C that shows the extent to which blood glucose level is under control.

Our main finding was that this upward improving trend plateaued for years after 2007 up to 2014, the last year for which we had data. We examined both genders, white and non-white populations as well as three age groups; young, middle age, and elderly population and results were the same: no change.

Overall, in 2007, 14% of patients with diabetes showed a poor diabetes control (Hemoglobin A1C more than 9%) ; in 2014, 15% of patients with diabetes fell within the category of poor diabetes control. 55% of the patients had a Good control of diabetes (Hemoglobin A1C less than 7%) in 2007; this measure was 54% in 2014.

Continue reading

Children and Young Adults With Diabetes Have Increased Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death Interview with:
“Diabetes Test” by Victor is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jesper Svane

Medical student
The Heart Center, University Hospital Rigshospitalet
Copenhagen What is the background for this study?

Response: At the beginning of this research project, we were aware that persons with diabetes have an increased risk of death, which is partly explained by an increased risk of sudden cardiac death. However, previous studies on causes of death and mortality among young persons with diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, are sparse. Furthermore the incidence of sudden cardiac death among young persons with diabetes in a nationwide setting is unknown.

The main purpose of the study was to illuminate the risk of death and especially the risk of cardiac death among children/young adults with diabetes.

On a personal note, a friend of mine, who was healthy and fit, died suddenly a few years ago at the age of 19. This tragic death raised a lot of feelings as well as questions in me. When I got the chance to work with Dr. Lynge and Dr. Tfelt, I saw this as an opportunity to expand my knowledge of sudden cardiac death among the young. Furthermore, the opportunity of contributing to research in order to prevent these devastating events in the future was personally appealing to me.

I initiated the project together with Thomas Hadberg Lynge, MD, last year, with Jacob Tfelt-Hansen, MD, DMSc as supervisor. Both are experienced researchers within the field of sudden cardiac death. Dr. Tfelt-Hansen leads a very productive research group at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, whose main focus is arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

Continue reading

Lifestyle Modifications Slow Progression To Diabetes As Effectively As Medications Interview with:
Dr. Karla Galaviz PhD
Hubert Department of Global Health
Rollins School of Public Health
Emory University
Sonya Haw, MD| Assistant Professor
Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipids
Emory University, School of Medicine
Grady Memorial Hospital
Atlanta, GA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • Diabetes affects 1 in 11 adults worldwide and though there is evidence that lifestyle modification (eating healthier diets and exercising about 150 mins a week) and certain medications can prevent or delay diabetes onset, it is not clear which of these strategies offers long-term benefits.
  • To answer this question, we compiled all available randomized controlled trials of lifestyle programs and medications to prevent diabetes and analyzed the data to see if the diabetes prevention effects persisted in the long-term. We specifically compared studies where the lifestyle or drug interventions were discontinued to see if the effect was long lasting or diminished when the intervention was stopped.

Continue reading