Reversing Type 1 Diabetes in Mice

New nanovaccine innovations have proven successful in reversing the effects of Type 1 diabetes in mice. Is it possible to take the leap from mice achievement to successful human trials? It might if one researcher has his way.

Reversing Type 1 Diabetes in Mice: New nanovaccine innovations have proven successful in reversing the effects of Type 1 diabetes in mice. Is it possible to take the leap from mice achievement to successful human trials? It might if one researcher has his way.

In the scheme of body dynamics you have an immune system that is incredibly complex. If a disease invades your body then immune cells are sent to do battle with the invaders. Sometimes those immune cells take their job pretty seriously. The body is equipped with a counter balance that allows a second group of cells to try to stop the ‘rogue’ immune cells from the damage they may be doing, but in most cases the immune cells are too strong resulting in the weakening of the secondary cells, and in Type 1 diabetes the death of insulin creating beta cells.

Because Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease it’s as if the immune cells have become something akin to an overbearing parent. They mean well, but stifle so many areas that in the end damage can occur even when the immune system was simply trying to help.

Think of the effect on the mice in this study this way – the immune system detects the beta cells of the pancreas as an intruder. The immune system sends a contingent of cells to ward off what they believe to be invaders. The body responds with a staged intervention by sending troops to stop the immune system from destroying the pancreas. The problem is there are too few ‘troop’ cells and they just aren’t strong enough to battle the immune system.

The theory behind the new vaccine is that if there were more ‘troops’ cells that could stand up to the immune cells they might prevent damage to the beta cells. If successful in humans this could have a very positive effect in other autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. In both cases the struggle faced by patients have to do with an overactive immune system that ultimately did damage by being overbearing. The potential of the nanovaccine is to provide a more level playing field in very specific instances.

This is important because you don’t want to completely suppress the immune system, but there may be causes when improving the strength of other cells is an important component in specific disease protection.

The lead researcher in this study is Dr. Pere Santamaria, a professor at the Julia McFarlane Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Calgary in Alberta according to HealthDay, which went on to say, “The body doesn’t just allow the autoimmune aggression to go unchecked. There is a counter-mechanism that produces immune system cells to try to fight the rogue immune cells that are creating the damage in type 1 diabetes.”

Santamaria said, “With this nanovaccine, we engage the weak immune cells and make them multiply and divide, and then they can counter the autoimmune response without impairing systemic immunity.” This essentially is the ‘intervention’ process that helps keep the immune system in check.

How exactly does it work? According to the HealthDay report, “Instead of directly attacking the stronger cells, the autoregulatory T cells turn off the signal that tells the stronger immune cells to attack, effectively stopping the destruction of the beta cells.”

Time will tell if this approach is simply a dead end, a stepping-stone to a differing therapy or the answer science has been seeking in the battle against Type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes: Cellular News

We’ve reported previously that high birth-weight babies are susceptible to diabetes later in life. New research indicates the same may be true for low birth-weight babies although the underlying reasons may be different.

Diabetes: Cellular News: We’ve reported previously that high birth-weight babies are susceptible to diabetes later in life. New research indicates the same may be true for low birth-weight babies although the underlying reasons may be different.

The issue with low birth-weight babies has to do with a duo of gene variants. If an infant has these variants it can lead to both low birth-weight and a greater likelihood of diabetes.

According to BabyChums.com, “The collaborative effort of scientists from Britain, Finland, the Netherlands and the United States has yielded important research which could change the way diabetes is dealt with in the future.”

Researchers analyzed nearly 20 studies covering more than 38,000 European patients. Jim Wilson, a Scotland medical researcher said: “Finding two gene variants that decrease birth-weight is the first exciting step to unraveling the well known associations between birth-weight and killer diseases in later life. It is particularly interesting that one of these variants is also a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

“These genes will begin to reveal the biology behind how low birth-weight increases the risk of adult-onset diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure,” Wilson is quoted by BabyChums.com.

One of these genes is known as Adenylate cyclase type 5 (ADCY5) and, “According to the researchers’ data, people who inherit two copies of this gene in two specific genetic regions have a 25 percent increased chance of developing diabetes later in adulthood,” said Babychums.com.

It seems relevant that certain genetic markers exist that can pose a potential problem for development potential in diabetes.

However, other researchers have cautioned that low birth-weight can be attributed to multiple circumstances and that simply because a new baby may be born with low birth-weight one cannot simply assume that diabetes will always be the outcome.

Meanwhile, Leptin is back in the news. UT Southwestern Medical Center researcher Dr. Joel Elmquist, senior author of a recent study said, “Our findings indicate that [obesity-linked diabetes] is not necessarily the case, at least in mice. We can make the animals very diabetic without obesity, suggesting that there may be a circuit or path of resistance to these signals in the brain that helps explain the powerful anti-diabetic actions of leptin.”

This researcher notes that Type 2 diabetes may not be directly attributable to obesity as he found similar issues in mice that were not obese and yet because they were leptin deprived they struggled with life threatening diabetic symptoms.

Interesting a single shot of leptin caused diabetic mice to reverse course in diabetes. “In the current study,” according to DNAIndia.com, “the researchers genetically engineered mice to lack both leptin and insulin receptors in their POMC neurons. Both receptors remained intact in all other cell types and tissues, including the liver and ovaries.”

What was the result? Well, according to the same report, “The researchers found that when they removed both receptors from these particular neurons the mice displayed systemic insulin resistance and became severely diabetic but not obese. Dr. Elmquist said the findings suggest that leptin and insulin – when acting on these neurons in the brain – are both necessary and can compensate for each other if there’s a shortage of one.”

Elmquist concluded by saying, “There seems to be what I call a functional redundancy in these neurons as it relates to blood sugar regulation. We don’t know if the same neurons respond to both leptin and insulin, but it is clear that functionally leptin can compensate for a lack of insulin and vice versa.”

Charlie Kimball: The Race is On

He started racing go-carts at the age of nine. Today he’s one of the best open wheel racecar drivers who was also nearly sidelined by a diagnosis of diabetes.

Charlie Kimball: The Race is OnCharlie Kimball: The Race is On: He started racing go-carts at the age of nine. Today he’s one of the best open wheel racecar drivers who was also nearly sidelined by a diagnosis of diabetes.

Charlie Kimball is a an American of British descent and is considered a rising star in his field. Wikipedia shares his racing career to date…

“Kimball’s single-seater career started in 2002 when he took part in the American Formula Dodge national championship, finishing the season in 10th place overall. He also won three races in the SCCA Formula Ford series. For 2003 he moved up to Formula Ford U.S., finishing third overall.

“In 2004 he competed in the full UK Formula Ford championship for Team JLR, taking two race wins and eleven podiums on his way to fourth in the championship. His performances earned him a drive with front-runners Carlin Motorsport in the 2005 British Formula Three Championship, where he took five race wins to finish an impressive second behind teammate Álvaro Parente.

“For 2006 Kimball stayed in Formula Three, but moved up to the Formula Three Euroseries with the French Signature-Plus team. He took one race win and three podiums to finish the season in eleventh place.

“In 2007 he competed in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series for the Italian Victory Engineering team, alongside Dutchman Giedo van der Garde. He competed in 12 races and finished 24th in points with a best finish of 8th in the Monza and Nurburgring sprint races. His departed the team due to the onset of Type 1 Diabetes, which required hospitalization.”

It was at this point that life changed dramatically for Kimball. He had actually gone to the doctor for a rash and left with a diagnosis of diabetes. Kimball struggled with whether he would even be able to continue with racing.

According to the St. Clair Times, “He’s been able to use that passion to help educate fans about the dangers of diabetes, as well as demonstrate an ability to continue pursuing his dreams.”

Said Kimball, “While it (diabetes) may have been a speed bump, it’s definitely not a roadblock. Don’t get me wrong: I’d give it back if I could. But at the end of the day, I believe I’m a better person for it.

“I’m leading not just a normal life, but kind of an extraordinary life. With all the travel that I do, and the physical and mental aspects of being in a racecar.”

For 2009 Kimball signed to drive in Firestone Indy Lights for the new Team PBIR outfit. He stated that an influencing factor in his return to the U.S. is to increase Diabetes awareness in his home country.

And if you’re wondering how Kimball manages testing while engaged in some serious racing the St. Clair Times provides the tools of his trade, “Kimball has a number of things that set him apart from other drivers, such as a continuous glucose monitor that attaches to his steering wheel and graphs his blood sugar every five minutes so he can keep an eye on his levels while driving, and a special helmet that enables him to sip orange juice if his blood sugar levels drop while racing without lifting a finger.”

Kimball concludes by saying, “With good dietary management, good discipline, good healthcare, it doesn’t have to get in the way. I’m a big advocate of making diabetes work in your life instead of changing for diabetes.”

Reduce Diabetic Risks Through Breastfeeding

The time following the birth of a child brings a beautiful connection between mother and child. For many this has meant breastfeeding their child for at least six months. Others have moved toward a formula feeding that may be necessary and unavoidable. However, research now points to some very specific reasons to breastfeed your new baby if at all possible.

Reduce Diabetic Risks Through Breastfeeding: The time following the birth of a child brings a beautiful connection between mother and child. For many this has meant breastfeeding their child for at least six months. Others have moved toward a formula feeding that may be necessary and unavoidable. However, research now points to some very specific reasons to breastfeed your new baby if at all possible.

The data available today indicates that nearly 1,000 infants in the United States can be saved each year if mothers would breastfeed their babies. Research also indicates that billions of dollars in health care costs could be saved if breastfeeding once again became the norm.

Two diseases that often go together are Type 2 diabetes and asthma. Research indicates that if a child is breastfeed they are much less likely to contract either condition. However, the good news can extend to the mother as well. The research further indicates that when a mother breastfeeds her child she becomes less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

Oreon.gov provides the following comprehensive list of benefits related to breastfeeding…

  • Immediate Health Benefits for Breastfed Babies
  • Long-term Health Benefits for Breastfed Babies
  • Less childhood obesity
  • Reduced risk of some chronic diseases that develop during childhood including: juvenile diabetes, childhood cancers, and allergic disease/asthma
  • Enhanced neurological development that may result in higher IQs and better eyesight
  • Suckling at the breast promotes good jaw development and encourages the growth of straight, healthy teeth
  • Immediate Health Benefits for a Mother who Breastfeeds
  • Uterus returns to normal size more quickly and mother has reduced blood loss
  • Exclusive breastfeeding delays the return of fertility in most women
  • Reduced insulin needs in diabetic mothers
  • Psychological benefits of increased self-confidence and enhanced bonding with infant
  • Helps mother get needed rest by requiring that she sit or lie down with baby every few hours to feed
  • Long-term Health Benefits for a Mother who Breastfeeds
  • Earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight, with no return of weight once weaning occurs
  • Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture
  • Social and Economic Benefits for Breastfeeding Families, Employers and Health Systems
  • Family savings of several hundred dollars when the cost of breastfeeding is compared to the cost of using artificial formula

Healthcare reform reinforces this idea by insisting that large businesses be required to provide a private space for new mothers to express milk for their infants. The reason this has become such an important element to healthcare is that many mothers are either the sole breadwinner for their families or are huge contributors to the financial needs their families face. If there are health benefits to providing their child with breast milk then it just makes sense to offer a comfortable and private space for them to provide the milk their child needs for both nourishment and to fend off potential disease later in life.

A Motivation To Move

More individuals are finding they are more comfortable using an electric “scooter” when visiting a store or moving around outdoors. While there was a time when many only looked at this prospect as something that might make senior years easier the truth is it has been drafted for use by a steadily growing number of younger individuals.

A Motivation To Move: If it seems there is a more frequent use of electric mobility units by younger people there is a reason for that. It’s true.

More individuals are finding they are more comfortable using an electric “scooter” when visiting a store or moving around outdoors. While there was a time when many only looked at this prospect as something that might make senior years easier the truth is it has been drafted for use by a steadily growing number of younger individuals.

In order that you don’t see this as an overly alarming trend you should know that the use of physical mobility units is around 2% for those 50-64 years of age. As you can see the majority of those in this age group are not experiencing significant issues, but the secondary trend is that mobility is more difficult for those who don’t use a ‘scooter’. Many in this age group that can walk on their own indicate that climbing 10 stairs may be the maximum they can walk before needing to rest or walking more than ¼ of a mile is extremely difficult.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “More than 40% of people surveyed said that due to a health problem they had trouble with at least one of nine physical functions, without using any equipment. The researchers, from the University of Michigan and the RAND Corporation, also saw an increase in people needing help with personal care endeavors such as getting in and out of bed or moving around in their homes.”

Perhaps just as telling was the following information from the same article, “From 2005 to 2007, the most common reasons for needing help were arthritis; rheumatism; back or neck problems; diabetes; and depression, anxiety or emotional problems. Those who reported these problems were more apt to say the disorders started at age 30 to 49. Obesity was tied for seventh place on the list, tied with heart problems, and there was no substantial increase over the study period. In the study the researchers noted that some of the participants may not have wanted to list obesity, and that many obese people are healthy. Still, they wrote, ‘our findings regarding arthritis or rheumatism, back or neck problems, other musculoskeletal conditions, and diabetes may be related to the growth in obesity.’”

This trend seems to point to the potential that more direct health care will be needed at younger ages for many baby boomers. As the prevalence of obesity and diabetes continue to grow the issue of long-term and assisted care plays strongly in the potential of many American lives.

We Americans are reluctant to view ourselves as obese, but these trends point to the fact that too many calories are affecting not only our present, but also our future and the lives of those who love us.

One reality television show is pitching the idea of a revolution in how we think of food. This potential revolution advocated by Jamie Oliver suggests that something as simple as learning how to cook at home again instead of eating out so much could do more to stem the tide of obesity than anything.

Recent episodes of his reality television show demonstrate special caskets made for obese individuals along with the requirement that individuals who are excessively overweight may be required to purchase two burial plots to compensate for the size of the casket.

Startling images to be sure, but as the need for mobility devices increase so does the need for motivation to do something about these struggles common to all men.

The Importance of Friendships in Diabetic Care

What if I told you that in order to be successful in the managed care of diabetes you might need improved skills in interpersonal relationships? One study says I’m right.

The Importance of Friendships in Diabetic Care: What if I told you that in order to be successful in the managed care of diabetes you might need improved skills in interpersonal relationships? One study says I’m right.

Belinda (not her real name) lives in the Midwest. She is fearful of others and finds it hard to trust. Belinda is obese and developed both diabetes and asthma in her early 40s. She has been known to tell family members that she wishes she would just move far away from everyone and just be left alone. She won’t speak to some family members except via text or emails.

Belinda struggles with depression, which is common in those who have diabetes. She doesn’t have a positive body image and she finds it a struggle to just get up and venture out of her house. Her health continues to decline.

I mentioned a study in the opening paragraph of this story. According to PrivateMD, Paul Ciechanowski, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, and his colleagues examined 3,535 adult patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and had them fill out questionnaires regarding their personality and lifestyle.

”Participants were then divided into two groups – those with an independent style, who tended to be either dismissive or fearful of close relationships, and those with an interactive style, who generally felt comfortable seeking out support.”

You might expect that there would be some problems with those who find themselves fearful of interaction with others, but the truth might surprise you, “Over the duration of the study, individuals who were more introverted and mistrustful had a 33 percent higher mortality rate than those who were more extraverted and emotionally open. The mortality rates remained the same after accounting for potential risk factors, such as age, body mass index and other medical conditions.”

With the advent of modern technology it is possible for an individual to develop a dependence on personal communication devices inside their home in order to physically remove themselves from other people. Like Belinda many push family members and friends away because they erroneously believe no one wants to be around them in the state in which they find themselves.

Managing diabetes can be a collaborative effort between yourself and someone who cares about you. When you leash yourself to an electronic tether that makes no demands with respect to connecting with others on a face-to-face basis you can find comfort on one level, yet a profound separation on another.

This is another example of psychological component that plays a key role in the outlook and personal care an individual will perceive as acceptable. In other words for someone like Belinda who struggles with trust there may be an acceptance of care and comfort that is less comprehensive than others who work at developing a support network.

The Internet has provided a great resource in finding information and connecting with others in a casual manner, but the Internet cannot hold your hand, dry your tears or provide the personal encouragement a flesh and bone friend can.

By intentionally working on interpersonal relationships as part of your diabetic care you may find that there are greater moments of joy and less bouts of loneliness and depression than by insisting you are strong enough to do this thing called diabetes alone.

Diabetes and the Oxygen Deprived Mouse

Certain oxygen-deprived mice seem to thrive by eating as much as they want, staying lean in the process and avoiding any diabetic symptoms. What scientists learn from these mice may aid in future diabetic care.

Diabetes and the Oxygen Deprived Mouse: Certain oxygen-deprived mice seem to thrive by eating as much as they want, staying lean in the process and avoiding any diabetic symptoms. What scientists learn from these mice may aid in future diabetic care.

According to a press release on the subject these mice, “process fat differently,” said Randall Johnson, professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego, who directed the research, which is published in the April 15 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism. While their normal littermates gain weight, develop fatty livers and become resistant to insulin on a high fat diet, just like overweight humans do, the mutant mice suffered none of these ill effects.”

This report cites a protein called FIH that dictates the response a body has in low oxygen level conditions. The authors of the study indicate drugs can inhibit the protein. The press release stated, “Because the protein influences a wide range of genes involved in development, the scientists were surprised that its deletion improved health.”

“We expected them to die as embryos,” said Na Zhang, a graduate student in Johnson’s lab and lead author of the study. “Then we saw they can survive for a long time.”

“From the beginning I noticed that these mice are smaller, but not sick. These mice seem to be healthy,” Zhang said. The lean mice have a high metabolism, and a common check for insulin resistance, a symptom of diabetes, revealed a super sensitivity to insulin.

“We fed the mice with a very high fat diet – 60 percent fat – just to see how they would respond,” Zhang said. “Mutants can eat a lot, but they didn’t gain a lot of weight. They are less fatty around their middles compared with their littermates.”

In reference to the comparison between the oxygen deprived mutant mice and humans the theory seems to be that with the inhibition of FIH cholesterol levels go down, instances of fatty liver decline and metabolic profiles improve.

Researchers noted that these FIH deprived mice ate more and drank more than mice without the protein deficiency, but according to Johnson the calories went, “To heat generation and an increased heart rate. They also breathe heavily compared with normal mice, taking in 20 to 40% more air. This deep breathing is like exercise for them.”

The protein deficiency was replicated in other mice and found to provide the same response. However, the FIH has to be deprived in virtually all tissue in order to be successful. It was tried in the liver only with limited results.

The press release concludes by saying, “The FIH protein is part of a wide system that responds to low levels of oxygen. The mice behave as if they are breathing thin air. When people travel to higher altitudes, they breathe heavily for a few days, then adjust by producing more oxygen-carrying blood cells. ‘These mice never adjust to the apparent low oxygen,’ Johnson said. ‘They stay in this acute phase of hypoxic response their whole lives.’”

In essence the oxygen deprivation requires more active work to gain the needed oxygen allowing the metabolism to kick into overdrive as the mice develop faster heart rates and quicker breathing techniques. The end result is a greater need for fuel, but a reduced risk for diabetes.

I don’t believe the researchers are suggesting that we cure diabetes by making patients oxygen deprived, but there may be some elements of the research that can assist in the development of new therapies to aid in the struggle against diabetes.

The World of Team Type 1

The world of cycling is being impacted by Type 1 diabetes. In fact one team is hoping their efforts results in a run at the Tour de France in 2012.

The World of Team Type 1: The world of cycling is being impacted by Type 1 diabetes. In fact one team is hoping their efforts results in a run at the Tour de France in 2012.

There are six teams that make up Team Type 1. These include professional men and women’s teams, a triathlon team and a development team. According to the Team Type 1 website, “Team Type 1 is the world’s only professional cycling team with a roster that includes riders who have Type 1 diabetes.

“In 2009, Team Type 1 won 55 races, finished fourth in the National Racing Calendar (NRC) standings and captured the King of the Mountains title at five races, including the Tour of Missouri. In two seasons, the squad has registered 100 victories and 219 podium (top three) finishes.

“Four of the 17 riders have Type 1 diabetes: Fabio Calabria, Joe Eldridge, Javier Megias and Martijn Verschoor. In addition to nine Americans, there are riders from Australia, Holland, Italy, Russia, Slovenia, Spain and the Ukraine.”

As Team Type 1 has grown they’ve also assembled a cycling team featuring those who live with Type 2 diabetes. The emphasis has been to educate others on ways to combat diabetes while still pursuing the dreams each person has for their lives. This has included multiple placings in national and international cycling events.

It was also recently announced via press release, “Team Type 1 and 23andMe announce a strategic partnership to research and understand Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes through 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service. 23andMe, an industry leader in personal genetics, conducted a genetic analysis of all 88 members of Team Type 1, to investigate diabetes and how genes impact athletic performance. The analysis was conducted at Team Type 1’s training camp in Georgia where saliva samples from each team member were collected.

“The process by which 23andMe genotypes DNA uses the latest in DNA technology. Once the lab receives a sample of a person’s saliva, DNA is extracted, cut into smaller, more manageable pieces and applied to a DNA “chip.” The DNA chip is a small glass slide with millions of microscopic beads on its surface. Attached to each bead are “probes”—bits of DNA complementary to sites in a person’s genome where their single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, are located. SNPs act as biological markers and allow scientists to locate genes associated with disease.”

This partnership between Team Type 1 cyclists and the 23andMe follows other successful partnerships with the NFL in determining how athletics affects the human body.

Team Type 1 is also using social media like Twitter and Facebook to connect with their fans and provide updates on pending races and weekly success stories.

Phil Southerland is the brainchild behind Team Type 1. According to his personal website he, “was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 7 months of age. He lived in Tallahassee, Florida. He was born and diagnosed at Tallahassee Regional Medical Center. Phil’s mother, Joanna, kept taking him to doctors for a week saying something was wrong. He was finally diagnosed after she took him to the ER on her own. The lives as a family changed that instant. At that time she was told good news “He will live.” Bad news, “He has juvenile diabetes and the prognosis that he would probably have renal failure or be blind by age 25. Instead, at 24 years of age he raced his bike 3000 miles across the United States with a team of other persons with Type 1.”

To find out more about the efforts of Team Type 1 visit teamtype1.org.

The Big News in Protein Study Funding for Diabetes

One research institute has received more than a million dollars to fund a series of tests designed to study a protein linked to the development of obesity and diabetes. The three years of research will take place in Florida.

The Big News in Protein Study Funding for Diabetes: One research institute has received more than a million dollars to fund a series of tests designed to study a protein linked to the development of obesity and diabetes. The three years of research will take place in Florida.

Patricia McDonald, an associate scientific director in the Translational Research Institute at Scripps Florida was quoted in a press release following word of the $1.3 million in funding, “Because obesity and diabetes are two of the most serious health problems facing us, the need for novel treatments has never been greater,” McDonald said. “Some recent studies in animal models have shown that activating the G protein-coupled receptor GPR119 improves glucose homeostasis or balance, while positively affecting both food intake and weight gain. This funding will help us design new assays that will explore the overall potential of GPR119 – and may one day lead to more effective treatments.”

The press release continued, “G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest and most diverse protein family in the human genome. They transduce or convert extracellular stimuli including neurotransmitters, light, hormones, lipids, and peptides into intracellular signals through a number of signaling pathways. Approximately one third, and perhaps as many as half, of currently marketed drugs are designed to target these receptors.

“GPR119 is expressed predominantly in the pancreas and gut of humans and rodents and in the rat brain. When activated, the receptor promotes secretion of a specific hormone, called Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1), in the intestines, which in turn increases insulin secretion from the pancreas; both are key components in regulating the balance of glucose in the body. Although some modulators of GPR119 have been discovered, they do not necessarily mimic the receptor’s natural ligand and have thus turned out to be mostly unsuitable for use in studying the receptor’s biology and function.”

One of the most fascinating, and science altering discoveries in our most recent past is the human genome project. This information will be used in the new Scripps research, “With the human genome sequenced, science now has a good handle on just how many GPCRs exist – at least 1,000 or more. Of those, McDonald said, scientists have a good understanding of what approximately 200 of them actually do and what activates them; another 600 or so are involved in taste and smell. The remaining receptors are known as orphan receptors, whose function and natural ligands have yet to be discovered,” according to the release.

McDonald said, “This funding is so important to eventually find[ing] more effective treatments for diabetes and obesity.”

The crucial funding provided to Scripps Research will be used to follow several potential scenarios in which these body proteins can be used to help individuals manage their weight as well as diabetic risk.

The press release describes Scripps Research as, “One of the world’s largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development. Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians.”

Their collective brain trust will be called upon to learn what they can from G-protein as relates to the effective management of weight and diabetic control.

A Diabetic Defense for Technology

There is a standard phrase that iPhone users often say; “There’s an app for that.” When choosing low calorie meals some are arming themselves with an app for mealtimes on the go.

A Diabetic Defense for Technology: There is a standard phrase that iPhone users often say; “There’s an app for that.” When choosing low calorie meals some are arming themselves with an app for mealtimes on the go.

Alyssa is not diabetic, but other family members have developed the disease. Her dad bought her an iPod iTouch for Christmas and like most teens she uses it to play games, connect to the Internet in Wi-Fi hotzones, listen to music, watch videos and post to Facebook. However, she’s also discovered key application downloads that fills her in on nutritional information about restaurants she visits.

The movie “Super Size Me” had a big impact on Alyssa and she wants to be smart on those increasingly rare occasions when she does eat out. Now while she waits in line she manipulates her iTouch screen and locates the data. She is surprised to see that some of the salads she thought were healthy actually have more calories than a burger once the dressing and tasty add ons are factored in.

She is surprised by the calories associated with some of the fries she has taken for granted and there are some items that she now totally avoids, “I remember looking up one burger special and found it was something like 1,100 calories – without the fries and drink.”

The good news is Alyssa doesn’t like pop so she doesn’t have a huge worry about sugar adding to any potential obesity problem.

“There are some places I just won’t go anymore,” said the 15 year-old, “Some food items I just can’t eat now that I know more about them.”

Has she noticed any changes in her family?

“My dad is always asking me to look stuff up when we eat out. He changes his mind about food all the time because of what my iTouch says.” Alyssa smiles. “We eat at home a lot more now.”

Alyssa’s mom, Nancy, has also noticed a difference; “I love the fact that Alyssa is taking ownership in her decisions. She’s recognizing at an early age that what she does today can affect her future. Now if only I could convince her brother it’s important.”

This is just one true story of how mobile technology is empowering people to make better choices. For the diabetic, mobile technology can allow you to monitor your glucose levels, make digital notes and even send data to an off-site tracking location. Some diabetics will even forward their data to their primary care physician for input when needed.

As more and more people accept the use of mobile technology they may find these devices can place vital information at their fingertips in between all of the games, music, emails and Facebook posts.

These devices have also made it possible for many diabetics to assume a greater level of freedom simply because they are no longer tied to bulky testing equipment and data storage issues.

“My grandma died from diabetes a couple of year ago,” Alyssa says as she looks at a picture of her grandmother from 2005 on her iTouch. “Every day she inspires me to make better choices. I know that sounds weird, but somehow it helps.”

Alyssa has two aunts with diabetes and although she is young and looks the picture of health Alyssa realizes the choices she makes today can impact her future. If you ever meet Alyssa in a restaurant you might ask her what she might recommend. You can bet the portions will be sensible and the food low in fat, sodium and calories. Oh, and she’ll be using a hand-held iTouch to pass along her wisdom.