Coronavirus can transform pancreas cell function; certain genes may protect an infected person’s spouse

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that have yet to be certified by peer review.

Coronavirus transforms pancreas cell function

When the coronavirus infects cells, it not only impairs their activity but can also change their function, new findings suggest. For example, when insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas become infected with the virus, they not only produce much less insulin than usual, but also start to produce glucose and digestive enzymes, which is not their job, researchers found. “We call this a change of cell fate,” said study leader Dr. Shuibing Chen, who described the work in a presentation on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, held virtually this year. It is not clear whether the changes are long-lasting, or if they might be reversible, the researchers noted earlier in a report published in Cell Metabolism. Chen noted that some COVID-19 survivors have developed diabetes shortly after infection. “It is definitely worth investigating the rate of new-onset diabetes patients in this COVID-19 pandemic,” she said in a statement. Her team has been experimenting with the coronavirus in clusters of cells engineered to create mini-organs, or organoids, that resemble the lungs, liver, intestines, heart and nervous system. Their findings suggest loss of cell fate/function may be happening in lung tissues as well, Chen, from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told Reuters.

Certain genes may protect an infected patient’s spouse

A study of couples in which both partners were exposed to the coronavirus but only one person got infected is helping to shed light on why some people may be naturally resistant to the virus. The researchers had believed such cases were rare, but a call for volunteers who fit that profile turned up roughly a thousand couples. Ultimately, they took blood samples from 86 couples for detailed analysis. The results suggest resistant partners more often have genes that contribute to more efficient activation of so-called natural killer (NK) cells, which are part of the immune system’s initial response to germs. When NKs are correctly activated, they are able to recognize and destroy infected cells, preventing the disease from developing, the researchers explained in a report published on Tuesday in Frontiers in Immunology . “Our hypothesis is that the genomic variants most frequently found in the susceptible spouse lead to the production of molecules that inhibit activation of NKs,” study leader Mayana Zatz of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, said in a statement. The current study cannot prove this is happening, she added. Even if the findings are confirmed with more research, the contributions of other immune mechanisms would also need to be investigated, the researchers said.

Experimental pill shows promise against coronavirus variants

Laboratory studies show that Merck & Co’s experimental oral COVID-19 antiviral drug, molnupiravir, is likely to be effective in patients infected with any of the known variants of the coronavirus, including the dominant, highly transmissible Delta, researchers said on Wednesday in a presentation during IDWeek 2021, the virtual annual meeting of infectious disease organizations. Molnupiravir does not target the spike protein of the virus, which is the target of all current COVID-19 vaccines. Instead, it targets an enzyme the virus uses to make copies of itself. It is designed to work by introducing errors into the genetic code of the virus. Data showed that the drug is most effective when given early in the course of infection, Merck said. The company is conducting two large late-stage trials of the drug – one for treatment of COVID-19 and another as a preventive.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid and Deena Beasley; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Women in 40s, 50s who survive COVID more likely to suffer persistent problems: UK studies

By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) – Women in their 40s and 50s appear more at risk of long-term problems following discharge from hospital after COVID-19, with many suffering months of persistent symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness and brain fog, two UK studies found on Wednesday.

One study found that five months after leaving hospital, COVID-19 patients who were also middle-aged, white, female, and had other health problems such as diabetes, lung or heart disease, tended to be more likely to report long-COVID symptoms.

“Our study finds that those who have the most severe prolonged symptoms tend to be white women aged approximately 40 to 60 who have at least two long term health conditions,” said Chris Brightling, a professor of respiratory medicine at Leicester University who co-led the study known as PHOSP-COVID.

A second study led by the International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infections Consortium (ISARIC) found that women under 50 had higher odds of worse long-term health outcomes than men and than older study participants, even if they had no underlying health conditions.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 has profound consequences for those who survive the disease,” said Tom Drake, a clinical research fellow at Edinburgh University who co-led the ISARIC study.

“We found that younger women were most likely to have worse long-term outcomes.”

The ISARIC study, which covered 327 patients, found that women under 50 were twice as likely to report fatigue, seven times more likely to have breathlessness, and also more likely to have problems relating to memory, mobility and communication.

The PHOSP study analyzed 1,077 male and female patients who were discharged from hospitals in Britain between March and November 2020 after having COVID-19.

A majority of patients reported multiple persistent symptoms after 5 months, with common symptoms being muscle and joint pain, fatigue, weakness, breathlessness and brain fog.

More than a quarter had what doctors said were “clinically significant symptoms of anxiety and depression” at five months, and 12% had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Louise Wain, a professor and respiratory specialist at Leicester University who co-led PHOSP, said differences in male and female immune responses “may explain why post-COVID syndrome seems to be more prevalent” in women.

“We…know that autoimmunity, where the body has an immune response to its own healthy cells and organs, is more common in middle-aged women,” she said, but “further investigation is needed to fully understand” the processes involved.

(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Why COVID-19 is killing U.S. diabetes patients at alarming rates

By Chad Terhune, Deborah J. Nelson and Robin Respaut

(Reuters) – Devon Brumfield could hear her father gasping for breath on the phone.

Darrell Cager Sr., 64, had diabetes. So his youngest daughter urged him to seek care. The next day, he collapsed and died in his New Orleans home.

The daughter soon learned the cause: acute respiratory distress from COVID-19. His death certificate noted diabetes as an underlying condition. Brumfield, who lives in Texas and also has type 2 diabetes, is “terrified” she could be next.

“I’m thinking, Lord, this could happen to me,” she said of her father’s death in late March.

She has good reason to fear. As U.S. outbreaks surge, a new government study shows that nearly 40% of people who have died with COVID-19 had diabetes.

Among deaths of those under 65, half had the chronic condition. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed more than 10,000 deaths in 15 states and New York City from February to May.

Jonathan Wortham, a CDC epidemiologist who led the study, called the findings “extremely striking,” with serious implications for those with diabetes and their loved ones.

A separate Reuters survey of states found a similarly high rate of diabetes among people dying from COVID-19 in 12 states and the District of Columbia.

Ten states, including California, Arizona and Michigan, said they weren’t yet reporting diabetes and other underlying conditions, and the rest did not respond – rendering an incomplete picture for policymakers and clinicians struggling to protect those most at-risk.

America’s mortality rates from diabetes have been climbing since 2009 and exceed most other industrialized nations. Blacks and Latinos suffer from diabetes at higher rates than whites and have disproportionately suffered from COVID-19.

“Diabetes was already a slow-moving pandemic. Now COVID-19 has crashed through like a fast-moving wave,” said Elbert Huang, a professor of medicine and director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Chronic Disease Research and Policy.

Keeping diabetes under control – among the best defenses against COVID-19 – has become difficult as the pandemic disrupts medical care, exercise and healthy eating routines.

The high price of insulin has also forced some people to keep working – risking virus exposure – to afford the essential medicine. And as the country grapples with an economic crisis, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their employer-sponsored health insurance.

Much of this could have been anticipated and addressed with a more comprehensive, national response, said A. Enrique Caballero, a Harvard Medical School endocrinologist and diabetes researcher.

Top health officials should have done more to emphasize the threat to people with diabetes and assuage their fears of hospital visits, he said, while also focusing more on helping patients manage their condition at home.

Policymakers had ample warning that COVID-19 posed a high risk for diabetes patients. In 2003, during the coronavirus outbreak known as SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, more than 20% of people who died had diabetes.

In 2009, during the H1N1 flu pandemic, patients with diabetes faced triple the risk of hospitalization.

Most recently in 2012, when the coronavirus Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, emerged, one study found 60% of patients who entered intensive care or died had diabetes.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has unearthed previously unknown complications because it has lasted longer and infected many more people than earlier coronavirus epidemics, said Charles S. Dela Cruz, a Yale University physician-scientist and Director of the Center of Pulmonary Infection Research and Treatment.

Doctors warn that the coronavirus pandemic may indirectly lead to a spike in diabetes-related complications – more emergency-room visits, amputations, vision loss, kidney disease and dialysis.

“My fear is we will see a tsunami of problems once this is over,” said Andrew Boulton, president of the International Diabetes Federation and a medical professor at the University of Manchester in England.


Researchers have scrambled for months to unravel the connections between diabetes and the coronavirus, uncovering an array of vulnerabilities.

The virus targets the heart, lung and kidneys, organs already weakened in many diabetes patients. COVID-19 also kills more people who are elderly, obese or have high blood pressure, many of whom also have diabetes, studies show.

On the microscopic level, high glucose and lipid counts in diabetes patients can trigger a “cytokine storm,” when the immune system overreacts, attacking the body. Damaged endothelial cells, which provide a protective lining in blood vessels, can lead to inflammation as white blood cells rush to attack the virus and may cause lethal clots to form, emerging research suggests.

“It’s all one big puzzle,” said Yale’s Dela Cruz. “It’s all interrelated.”

Many of their vulnerabilities can be traced to high blood sugar, which can weaken the immune system or damage vital organs. COVID-19 appears not only to thrive in a high-sugar environment but to exacerbate it. Recent evidence suggests the virus may trigger new cases of diabetes.

David Thrasher, a pulmonologist in Montgomery, Alabama, said up to half of COVID-19 patients in his local hospital ICU have diabetes. “They are often my most challenging patients,” he said, and the immune system response may be a big reason why.


The pandemic has ripped through several southern states with some of the nation’s highest diabetes rates. A Reuters examination of state data found that nearly 40% of COVID-19 deaths were people with diabetes in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia. Much of this area lies within what the CDC calls the “diabetes belt.”

Alabama has the highest percentage of adults with diabetes at 13.2%, or more than 550,000 people, CDC data show. Diabetes patients accounted for 38% of the state’s COVID-related deaths through June, officials said. Karen Landers, Alabama’s assistant state health officer, said she is particularly heartbroken at the deaths of diabetes patients in their 30s and 40s.

Medical professionals in these states say they struggle to keep patients’ diabetes under control when regular in-person appointments are canceled or limited because of the pandemic.

Sarah Hunter Frazer, a nurse practitioner at the Medical Outreach Ministries clinic for low-income residents in Montgomery, Alabama, said diabetes is common among her COVID-19 patients. With clinic visits on hold, she stays in touch by phone or video chat. If a problem persists, she insists on an outdoors, face-to-face meeting. “We meet them under a shade tree behind the clinic,” Frazer said.

In similar fashion, doctors at the University of North Carolina stepped up their use of telemedicine to reach at-risk rural patients. Despite those efforts, John Buse, a physician and director of the university’s diabetes center, said he’s certain some foot ulcers and dangerously high blood sugars are being missed because people avoid health facilities for fear of the virus.


Many diabetes patients with severe or deadly cases of COVID-19 were in good health before contracting the virus.

Clark Osojnicki, 56, of Stillwater, Minnesota, had heard early warnings about the risks of the coronavirus for people with diabetes, said his wife, Kris Osojnicki. But the couple didn’t think the admonitions applied to him because his glucose levels were in a healthy range.

“He was incredibly active,” she said.

On a Sunday in mid-March, Osojnicki jogged alongside his border collie, Sonic, on an agility course for dogs inside a suburban Minneapolis gym. Three days later, Osojnicki developed a fever, then body aches, a cough and shortness of breath. He was soon in the hospital, on a ventilator. Clark, a financial systems analyst, died April 6 from a blood clot in the lungs.

Osojnicki is among 255 recorded deaths in Minnesota of people with COVID-19 and diabetes mentioned on their death certificate as of mid-July, according to state data. The records describe people who died as young as 34.


For years, the skyrocketing cost of insulin has fueled much of the national outrage over drug prices. Early in the pandemic, the American Diabetes Association asked states to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for insulin and other glucose-lowering medications through state-regulated insurance plans.

But no state has fully followed that advice, the ADA said. Vermont suspended deductibles for preventive medications, like insulin, starting in July. Other states ordered insurers to make prescription refills more available but didn’t address cost.

Robert Washington, 68, knew his diabetes put him at risk from COVID-19. When his employer, Gila River’s Lone Butte Casino in Chandler, Arizona, reopened in May, he decided to keep working as a security guard so he could afford insulin.

Washington’s supervisors had assured him he could patrol alone in a golf cart, said his daughter, Lina. But once back at work, he was stationed at the entrance, where long lines of gamblers waited, most without masks, Robert told his daughter.

“He was terrified at what he saw,” Lina said.

He tested positive for the virus in late May and was admitted to the hospital days later. He died from complications of COVID-19 on June 11, his daughter said.

A week after Washington’s death, the casino again closed as COVID-19 cases exploded in the state. The casino did not respond to a request for comment.

“It’s hard to accept he is gone. I have to stop myself from wanting to call him,” said Lina, a sports anchor and reporter at a Sacramento, California, TV station. “A lot of these deaths were in some way preventable.”

(Reporting by Chad Terhune, Deborah J. Nelson and Robin Respaut; Editing by Brian Thevenot)

Why is New Orleans’ coronavirus death rate nearly three times New York’s? Obesity is a factor

By Brad Brooks

(Reuters) – The coronavirus has been a far deadlier threat in New Orleans than the rest of the United States, with a per-capita death rate almost three times that of New York City. Doctors, public health officials and available data say the Big Easy’s high levels of obesity and related ailments may be part of the problem.

“We’re just sicker,” said Rebekah Gee, who until January was the health secretary for Louisiana and now heads Louisiana State University’s healthcare services division. “We already had tremendous healthcare disparities before this pandemic – one can only imagine they are being amplified now.”

Along with New York and Seattle, New Orleans has emerged as one of the early U.S. hot spots for the coronavirus, making it a national test case for how to control and treat the disease it causes. Chief among the concerns raised by doctors working in the Louisiana city is the death rate, which is close to three times that of New York and over four times that of Seattle, based on publicly reported data.

New Orleans residents suffer from obesity, diabetes and hypertension at rates higher than the national average, conditions that doctors and public health officials say can make patients more vulnerable to COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

Some 97% of those killed by COVID-19 in Louisiana had a pre-existing condition, according to the state health department. Diabetes was seen in 40% of the deaths, obesity in 25%, chronic kidney disease in 23% and cardiac problems in 21%.

Orleans Parish, which encompasses the city, reported 115 deaths as of Wednesday, giving it 29.5 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 people. That rate for New York City was at 10.8 on Wednesday.

New Orleans could be a harbinger for the potential toll the pandemic could take in other parts of the South and Midwest that also have high rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

A host of other factors could contribute to New Orleans’ high death rate from COVID-19, ranging from access to healthcare and hospital quality, to the prevalence of other conditions, including lung disease, health officials say.

But they also note that it is clear that obesity-related conditions are playing a role in the deaths. That could be a warning sign for the United States at large, where chronic obesity is more common than in other developed countries, they said.

Hospitals are reporting cases across the generations -mothers and daughters, fathers and sons – being intubated and cared for in the same intensive care units, said Tracey Moffatt, the chief nursing officer at Ochsner Health, the largest healthcare provider in Louisiana. The prevalence of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease in New Orleans and Louisiana plays into that, she said.

Those family members often suffered from the same medical conditions before becoming sick, leaving them similarly vulnerable to the coronavirus despite their age gaps.

“We had a case where a mom was already in the ICU and the daughter, who was obese, came in,” she said. “The daughter asked staff to wheel her by her mom’s room so she could say goodbye before she herself was intubated. We knew the mother was going to pass away.”

Both patients suffered from obesity.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week released for the first time a report showing that 78% of COVID-19 patients in ICUs in the United States had an underlying health condition, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease.

The CDC report was based on a sample of under 6% of reported coronavirus infections, but doctors in Louisiana said it was consistent with what they are seeing, and it is in line with what other countries like Italy and China have faced.

Those percentages, said Dr. Joseph Kanter, an emergency department doctor and the top public health official in New Orleans, are likely similar in cities across the United States.

“What we worry about here is that we have more people in our communities with those conditions,” he said. “We’re more vulnerable than other communities, and the number of deaths we’ve seen illustrates that.”

The New Orleans metropolitan statistical area ranks among the worst in the United States for the percentage of residents with diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, a Reuters analysis of CDC data shows. An estimated 39% have high blood pressure, 36% are obese and about 15% have diabetes.

Nationally, the median is 32% with high blood pressure, 31% obese and 11% with diabetes.

“The burden of disease in Louisiana and the Deep South is higher than in the rest of the country,” said Gee. “Invariably that means that the South is going to be hard hit by this.”

(This story corrects headline, paragraphs 1 and 3 to reflect actual death toll of Orleans Parish of 115 deaths; Inserts new paragraph 6 with breakdown of figures.)

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Austin, Texas, additional reporting by Ryan McNeill in London; Editing by Scott Malone, Rosalba O’Brien and Dan Grebler)

‘War on sugar’ takes toll; Asia, Brazil struggle to make up shortfall

FILE PHOTO: A worker checks the flow of sugar inside the Gandavi sugar factory, 165 km (102 miles) south of Ahmedabad, India, March 26, 2012. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

By Ana Ionova and Chris Prentice

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The “war on sugar” being waged by governments and consumers to combat public health emergencies like diabetes is slowing growth in global demand, which along with other factors could signal a fundamental shift in consumption ahead.

Consumption may grow at its slowest pace in seven years in 2017/18, according to analyst group Platts Kingsman. It forecasts a rise of 1.04 percent, nearly half the average growth of about 2 percent per year over the last decade.

“Consumption is generally stagnating in developed countries,” Tom McNeill, director at commodity analyst group Green Pool, told Reuters.

Falling consumption in more health-conscious markets has been exacerbated by higher prices and the use of alternatives like high-fructose corn syrup in developing countries that might otherwise have made up the shortfall.

Combined with weaker demand from food and beverage makers globally, this could represent a “step-change lower” – or a fundamental shift – in global consumption, according to Tropical Research Services.

“So, it may be that the real long-term ‘trend’ rate of global sugar demand growth has changed and is now lower,” the group said in a May 7 report.

At least 17 countries and a number of U.S. cities have added an extra tax on sweetened beverages. Another 11 nations are implementing or considering similar levies.

Many are going further: France has coupled a tax with measures like banning vending machines in schools. Chile last year introduced black stop-sign warning labels on foods high in sugar, salt and fat.

Mexico is another example. With one in three adults in the country affected by obesity, the country slapped a levy on sweetened soft drinks in 2014.

Although the impact on health will take years to assess, early data shows consumption of soft drinks in Mexico has fallen by 12 percent since the tax was introduced.

“There is an increasing understanding for the need to control intake of free sugars, in public policy and in culture in general,” said Francesco Branca, director of nutrition for health and development at the World Health Organization.

“With obesity and diabetes very quickly spreading, they are trying to do something about it early on.”

The slowing pace of growth globally is adding to worries the world sugar market is headed for a surplus in 2017/18, after two consecutive deficits. [nL5N1H03Y2]

It could also curtail ambitious plans by the European Union to sharply boost output in 2017/18 in an effort to again become a net exporter, after it ends subsidies and caps on exports in October. [nL5N1H03Y2]


High-income countries like Norway and Canada are already seeing a decline in sugar consumption, Euromonitor figures shows. Now the appetites of developing markets, whose rapid population growth was expected to drive future growth, also appear to be waning.

Sugar sales in India, the world’s biggest consumer, are set to fall by roughly 1 million tonnes this season, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) estimates, due to higher domestic prices and a cash crunch that followed last year’s demonetisation of high-value bank notes. [nL8N1HX4HV]

The government’s decision earlier this year to abolish a sugar subsidy for poor families also dented consumption.

ISMA expects consumption to rebound next year as production in the country normalizes and domestic prices come down, but analysts say long-term growth remains uncertain as the government mulls higher taxes and stricter labeling on sugary foods. [nL3N1GT3TU]

“If India also jumps on the bandwagon with such a levy, as the world’s biggest sugar consumer, this could be felt in global growth,” said Stefan Uhlenbrock, senior analyst at F.O. Licht.

Sugar demand also seems to be stagnating in China, the second biggest consuming country, as cheaper sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) grow in popularity.

Chinese beet and cane farmers rely on state support to offset steep production costs. Imports, meanwhile, are subject to hefty duties meant to protect the industry, with an additional tariff introduced just this week. [nL4N1IO1J8]

As a result, domestic sugar prices are around double those on the world market. This, coupled with an abundance of cheap corn, has made HFCS highly competitive.

The USDA last month highlighted the decline in Chinese sugar demand when it slashed its estimates for consumption in that country for 2015/16 and 2016/17 by roughly 10 percent and signaled more modest growth than previously expected.

“People in China are still eating ice cream and drinking soft drinks,” said John Stansfield, analyst at commodity trader Group Sopex.

“It’s just the fact that these products are now increasingly made from corn syrup rather than sugar.”

Brazil, the world’s third largest consuming nation, has also seen demand growth slow over the last three years as an enduring recession slashed the incomes of many Brazilians. Consumption was growing at roughly 2-3 percent over the previous decade.


Manufacturers seem to think the anti-sugar movement is here to stay, and many food and beverage companies are pre-emptively reformulating their products as a result.

Coca-Cola <KO.N> has committed to reducing sugar in its drinks, with more than 200 reformulation initiatives underway. [nL4N1CW3UT]

PepsiCo <PEP.N> also said that by 2025 at least two-thirds of its drinks globally will have 100 calories or fewer from added sugar per 12-oz serving. [nL1N1CK13C]

Nestle <NESN.S> said in 2016 it is developing technology to reduce sugar in some confectionary products by up to 40 percent without affecting the taste. [nL8N1DW1D3]

“Globally, sugar is in the spotlight,” said Sara Petersson, nutrition analyst at Euromonitor. “The regulations are increasing with time. And if they’re being smart, they’re going to tackle this in advance.”

(Editing by Nigel Hunt, Veronica Brown and Sonya Hepinstall)

New diabetes treatment could be ‘game-changer’

A new form of treatment for Type 1 Diabetes that uses a patient’s own cells to fight the disease is being hailed as a potential “game-changer” after an early trial suggests that it’s safe for patients.

A research team headed by University of California San Francisco scientists recently put the treatment through its first U.S. safety trial and said patients reported no serious side effects.

That’s cleared the way for more tests, but there’s a way to go before the method is mainstream. Researchers still need to determine how effective the new form of treatment is against Type 1 Diabetes, an immune disease in which human bodies attack the cells that produce insulin.

While many traditional treatment methods go after the immune system, the researchers wrote in a news release that may increase the odds of a person developing an infection or even cancer.

The method being studied involves removing less than two cups of blood from a patient’s body to find certain kinds of cells called regulatory T cells, or Tregs. Scientists sort the Tregs and place them in a growth medium to boost their numbers, then inject them back into the patient’s body.

The goal is for those enriched Tregs to help bodies battle the attacks on insulin-producing cells while still keeping their immune systems fit enough to hold off other diseases and infections.’

The researchers said in the news release that all the signs to date have been encouraging, and that all of the 14 patients tolerated the Treg treatment well. The next step is a Phase 2 trial, another step toward confirming the treatment is actually beneficial for patients with the disease.

“This could be a game-changer,” UC San Francisco researcher Jeffrey A. Bluestone said in the news release. “For type 1 diabetes, we’ve traditionally given immunosuppressive drugs, but this trial gives us a new way forward. By using Tregs to ‘re-educate’ the immune system, we may be able to really change the course of this disease.”

About 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association says.

Type 2 Diabetes Connected To Brain Deterioration

Doctors have now been able to confirm that type 2 diabetes has a direct connection to the loss of brain matter.

Doctors have known for many years that diabetes has a negative impact on the brain but the study of patients using MRIs shows that long term diabetes has a direct correlation to the greatest loss of brain tissue.

“It’d been thought that most, if not all, of the effect of diabetes on the brain was due to vascular disease that diabetics gets and, therefore, stroke,” Dr. R. Nick Bryan of the University of Pennsylvania told Fox News.  “We found in addition to that, there’s sort of diffuse loss of brain tissue, atrophy, we think may have a direct effect on the diabetes on the brain.”

A study of MRIs on patients close to 62 years of age with type 2 diabetes for at least 10 years showed the greatest reductions of the brain’s gray matter, where the neurons of the brain are located.

Researchers say that for people with diabetes, proper care is a priority to help delay the impact the disease will have on the vascular system and the brain.

Google To Produce Contact Lens To Monitor Diabetes

Google has put on display a prototype of a contact lens that could be used by diabetics to monitor their disease.

The lens contains a miniaturized glucose sensor and wireless chip.  The lens would continually monitor glucose levels in tears and report the information to a computer or smartphone.

Google says the lens will be a lot less intrusive for measuring glucose levels than pricking fingers for blood tests.

“We wondered if miniaturized electronics — think chips and sensors so small they look like bits of glitter, and an antenna thinner than a human hair — might be a way to crack the mystery of tear glucose and measure it with greater accuracy,” Google said in its press release.  “We hope a tiny, super sensitive glucose sensor embedded in a contact lens could be the first step in showing how to measure glucose through tears, which in the past has only been theoretically possible.”

The unit is reportedly powered by radio waves.

Short Walks Cut Diabetes Risk

A report from George Washington University is suggesting that walking after each meal could cut the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. The short walks help control blood sugar levels the same as one long walk each day.

Elevated blood sugar levels after meals are suspected of elevating the risk for Type-2 and so “resting after eating is the worst thing you can do” according to the report. Continue reading

Wasted Years

One of the last times my father walked without assistance was when he walked me down the aisle.  He had developed diabetes because of his weight problem, and was now suffering complications from the disease.  Although he was in a lot of pain, Dad was determined to give me away. “Little Girl, this is the proudest moment of my life,” he told me.

In November 1999 Jim and I spent a week with Dad and Lita in Phoenix.  Jim had quizzed the doctor when we took my dad for an appointment that week.  The doctor had said that because of the complications from diabetes, they would likely have to amputate one of Dad’s legs within a year.  “But he’s a strong man,” the doctor said, “and he could live another five years, especially if he would take care of himself.”

On Monday afternoon Jim and I left Phoenix. We were getting in the car to drive to the airport when I turned around and went back in the house to hug Dad again. He held me to his chest and said, “Little Girl, don’t ever forget. Your daddy loves you.” Those were his last words to me.

The next morning Jim and Tammy Sue sat me down and broke the news that my dad had just passed away. Sue knelt down beside me and tenderly held my hand while Jim stood behind me and put his arms around me. They surrounded me with love in that difficult moment.

Peace filled my heart, and I felt that God was saying to me, your dad’s with me here now, and he is happy.

I had needed to know that my dad was in heaven.  God knew dad’s heart. And I believe my dad had finally come to understand the gift of God’s grace.

But he left this world many years before he needed to – because he could not control his eating.  He literally ate himself to death.  His refusal to take better care of himself deprived him and our entire family of many years together.

The wisdom of healthy living is beyond measurable.

Take care of yourself and do what you can to live out your appointed years.  Your family needs you and it is not God’s plan for you to waste the years He has appointed unto you.