Elusive pancreatic stem cells found in adult mice

Just as many scientists had given up the search, researchers have discovered that the pancreas does indeed harbor stem cells with the capacity to generate new insulin-producing beta cells. If the finding made in adult mice holds for humans, the newfound progenitor cells will represent an obvious target for therapeutic regeneration of beta cells in diabetes, the researchers report in the Jan. 25 issue of Cell, a publication of Cell Press.
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Oatmeal’s health claims strongly reaffirmed, science shows

A new scientific review of the most current research shows the link between eating oatmeal and cholesterol reduction to be stronger than when the FDA initially approved the health claim’s appearance on food labels in 1997.

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Research identifies sirtuin protein instrumental in fat production and metabolism

A new Joslin Diabetes Center-led study has identified a protein found in fat cells that may play a major role in how fat is produced and stored, offering a new target for treatments to prevent obesity and reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. This latest research appears in the August 2007 issue of Cell Metabolism.

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A new brake on cellular energy production discovered

A condition that has to be met for the body to be able to keep warm, move and even survive is that the mitochondria – the cells’ power stations – release the right amounts of energy. Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have now identified the first known factor that acts as a brake on cellular energy production.

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New technique to ‘see’ and protect transplants successful in diabetic animal model

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found a way to overcome a major stumbling block to developing successful insulin-cell transplants for people with type I diabetes.

Traditional transplant of the cells, accompanied by necessary immune-suppressing drugs, has had highly variable results, from well- to poorly tolerated. Part of the problem, the Hopkins researchers say, is an inability to track the cells—so-called pancreatic beta cells—once they’re inside the body.

Now a new technique encapsulates the insulin-producing cells in magnetic capsules, using an FDA-approved iron compound with an off-label use, which can be tracked by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The product, tested in swine and diabetic mice, also simultaneously avoids rejection by the immune system, likely a major reason for transplant failure. The work will be published online next week in Nature Medicine.

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Reducing insulin signaling in the brain can prolong lifespan

One route to a long and healthy life may be establishing the right balance in insulin signaling between the brain and the rest of the body, according to new research from Children’s Hospital Boston. The study, published in the July 20 issue of Science, not only reinforces the value of exercising and eating in moderation, but also helps explain a paradox in longevity research.

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Metabolic syndrome – don’t blame the belly fat

Abdominal fat, the spare tire that many of us carry, has long been implicated as a primary suspect in causing the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that includes the most dangerous heart attack risk factors: prediabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, and changes in cholesterol.

But with the help of powerful new imaging technologies, a team of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers at Yale University School of Medicine has found that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle leads to alterations in energy storage that set the stage for the metabolic syndrome.

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Selenium supplements may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes

Selenium, an antioxidant included in multivitamin tablets thought to have a possible protective effect against the development of type 2 diabetes, may actually increase the risk of developing the disease, an analysis by researchers at the University at Buffalo has shown.

Results of a randomized clinical trial using 200 micrograms of selenium alone showed that 55 percent more cases of type 2 diabetes developed among participants randomized to receive selenium than in those who received a placebo pill.

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Cholesterol drug hits diabetes with one-two punch

Patients with type 2 diabetes may soon be able to control their glucose and their cholesterol levels with a single drug, according to a study led by Vivian A. Fonseca, professor of medicine and pharmacology at Tulane University School of Medicine and chief of the Tulane University Health Sciences Center Diabetes Program.

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Research suggests fitness reduces inflammation

Although a number of studies have suggested that regular exercise reduces inflammation – a condition that is predictive of cardiovascular and other diseases, such as diabetes – it is still not clear whether there is a definitive link. And if such a link exists, the nature of the relationship is by no means fully understood.

A recent study by kinesiology and community health researchers at the University of Illinois provides new evidence that may help explain some of the underlying biological mechanisms that take place as the result of regular exercise.

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Scientists discover key to manipulating fat

In what they call a “stunning research advance,” investigators at Georgetown University Medical Center have been able to use simple, non-toxic chemical injections to add and remove fat in targeted areas on the bodies of laboratory animals. They say the discovery, published online in Nature Medicine on July 1, could revolutionize human cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery and treatment of diseases associated with human obesity.

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Serious diseases genes revealed

A major advance in understanding the genetics behind several of the world’s most common diseases has been reported.The landmark Wellcome Trust study analysed DNA from the blood of 17,000 people to find genetic differences. They found new genetic variants for depression, Crohn’s disease, coronary heart disease, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 and 2 diabetes.

The remarkable findings, published in Nature, have been hailed as a new chapter in medical science.

Read rest of the article at BBC Newssite

Alpha Lipoic acid explored as an anti-aging compound

Researchers said today they have identified the mechanism of action of lipoic acid, a remarkable compound that in animal experiments appears to slow down the process of aging, improve blood flow, enhance immune function and perform many other functions.
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Moderate coffee drinking reduces many health risks

Coffee is among the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and that the preponderance of scientific evidence suggests that moderate coffee consumption (3-5 cups per day) may be associated with reduced risk of certain disease conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease. Some research in neuropharamacology suggests that one cup of coffee can halve the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Other studies have found it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, kidney stones, gallstones, depression and even suicide.
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‘Exercise pill’ switches on gene that tells cells to burn fat

By giving ordinary adult mice a drug – a synthetic designed to mimic fat – Salk Institute scientist Dr. Ronald M. Evans is now able to chemically switch on PPAR-d, the master regulator that controls the ability of cells to burn fat. Even when the mice are not active, turning on the chemical switch activates the same fat-burning process that occurs during exercise. The resulting shift in energy balance (calories in, calories burned) makes the mice resistant to weight gain on a high fat diet.
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New Genetic Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes Identified

In the most comprehensive look at genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes to date, a U.S.-Finnish team, working in close collaboration with two other groups, has identified at least four new genetic variants associated with increased risk of diabetes and confirmed existence of another six. The findings of the three groups, published in the journal Science, boost to at least 10 the number of genetic variants confidently associated with increased susceptibility to type 2 diabetes — a disease that affects more than 200 million people worldwide.
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Stem cell transplantation may treat type 1 diabetes

A therapy that includes stem cell transplantation induced extended insulin independence in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus, according to a preliminary study in the April 11 issue of JAMA.
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Major genetic study identifies clearest link yet to obesity risk

Scientists have identified the most clear genetic link yet to obesity in the general population as part of a major study of diseases funded by the Wellcome Trust, the UK’s largest medical research charity. People with two copies of a particular gene variant have a 70% higher risk of being obese than those with no copies.
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Researchers find only vegetarian low-carb diet is associated with lower risk of heart disease

Advocates of low-carbohydrate diets, such as the popular Atkins diet, claim that those diets may help prevent obesity and coronary heart disease (CHD). However, the long-term safety of those diets has been debated, particularly because they encourage the consumption of animal products, which are high in saturated fats and cholesterol and could potentially increase the risk of CHD. Prevailing dietary recommendations have advocated a contrary approach, recommending diets that are low in fat and high in carbohydrates as the best way to manage weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In the first study to look at the long-term effects of low-carbohydrate diets, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found no evidence of an association between low-carb diets and an increased risk of CHD in women. Their findings did suggest, however, an association between low-carb diets high in vegetable sources of fat and protein and a low risk of CHD.
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Diabetes breakthrough

In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a Toronto hospital say they have proof the body’s nervous system helps trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the disease that affects millions.

Diabetic mice became healthy virtually overnight after researchers injected a substance to counteract the effect of malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas.
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Molecule linked to autoimmune disease relapses identified

The ebb and flow of such autoimmune diseases as multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis has long been a perplexing mystery. But new findings from the Stanford University School of Medicine bring scientists closer to solving the puzzle, identifying a molecule that appears to play a central role in relapses.
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Resveratrol prevents obesity and drastically increases physical endurance.

Researchers at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology in Illkirch, France have found that resveratrol boosts the exercise capacity of muscles in mice and protects against diet-induced insulin resistance and obesity. The research was published online on November 16, 2006 in the journal Cell.
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Landmark study of islet transplantation reveals potential benefits in uncontrolled type 1 diabetes

The results of the world’s first multicenter clinical trial of islet transplantation have confirmed the technique’s potential benefits in patients with difficult-to-control type 1 (or “juvenile”) diabetes. Published in the September 28, 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the international team of investigators report that the Edmonton Protocol for islet transplantation can safely and successfully promote long-term stabilization of blood sugar levels in “brittle” diabetes patients and in some cases, relieve them of the need for insulin injections altogether for at least two years.
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Alpha-lipoic acid completely prevents atherosclerosis in mice

An article published in the August, 2006 issue of the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes reported the findings of Xianwen Yi and Nobuyo Maeda of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that giving alpha-lipoic acid to mice in whom diabetes was induced prevented the increase in cholesterol, atherosclerotic lesions and health deterioration that the disease would otherwise cause. Alpha-lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant nutrient that has been used to treat diabetic neuropathy, however, its effects in diabetic cardiovascular disease have not been completely evaluated.

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Studies find general mechanism of cellular aging

Three separate studies confirm a gene that suppresses tumor cell growth also plays a key role in aging. The researchers found increasing concentration, or expression, of the gene p16INK4a in older cells; these aging cells worked poorly compared to young cells and remembered their “age” even when transferred from old mice to young mice. The cells of mice bred without the gene showed less sluggishness as the animals aged and continued to function in a manner more similar to cells from younger mice.

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Key fat and cholesterol cell regulator identified, promising target

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have identified how a molecular switch regulates fat and cholesterol production, a step that may help advance treatments for metabolic syndrome, the constellation of diseases that includes high cholesterol, obesity, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. The study is now published in the online version of the scientific journal Nature and will appear in the August 10th print edition.
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Fat-generated hormone drives energetic capacity of muscle

The fat-generated hormone adiponectin plays an important role in the energetic capacity of skeletal muscle, according to a new study in the July, 2006, Cell Metabolism, published by Cell Press. Adiponectin is unusual among fat hormones in that its levels generally decline in those who are obese.

The researchers report evidence in people and mice, linking low adiponectin levels to insulin resistance and reductions in the number of “cellular power plants” called mitochondria in skeletal muscle. The findings suggest that therapies designed to boost the adiponectin signal might prove beneficial for the treatment of insulin resistance and diabetes, they said.
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Scientists reveal possible strategy against obesity, diabetes and infertility

Twelve years ago, scientists discovered leptin–the now-famous hormone that controls appetite, burns calories and performs other crucial physiological activities as well. But the precise mechanism(s) by which leptin carries out these metabolic tasks is still controversial. Now, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have shown how leptin exerts some of its most important effects.

Their findings, reported in the July 5 issue of Cell Metabolism, suggest a novel approach for duplicating leptin’s actions when the body no longer responds to the hormone.
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Researchers discover how a high-fat diet causes type 2 diabetes

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have discovered a molecular link between a high-fat, Western-style diet, and the onset of type 2 diabetes. In studies in mice, the scientists showed that a high-fat diet disrupts insulin production, resulting in the classic signs of type 2 diabetes.

In an article published in the December 29, 2005, issue of the journal Cell, the researchers report that knocking out a single gene encoding the enzyme GnT-4a glycosyltransferase (GnT-4a ) disrupts insulin production. Importantly, the scientists showed that a high-fat diet suppresses the activity of GnT-4a and leads to type 2 diabetes due to failure of the pancreatic beta cells.

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