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research-and-clinical-trials

Health Talk recommends: Treating diabetes with beneficial bacteria

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Inquiry.

University of Minnesota researchers are on a mission to treat diabetes, and they’ve enlisted a few trillion microscopic helpers.

In place of drugs or surgery, a team of researchers is studying how to improve diabetes patients’ insulin sensitivity by introducing trillions of beneficial bacteria into their intestines. Researchers believe this unusual approach, conducted through a fecal microbiota transplant, could improve how the body regulates blood sugar, the central problem in diabetics. The project is part of MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy), a $36 million biennial investment by the state that aims to solve grand challenges. As a part of MnDRIVE’s Transdisciplinary Research Program, the project will bridge multiple fields of research and bring together experts from across the U to work on the same clinical trial.

Patients with diabetes have too much glucose in their blood, which leads to a host of serious health problems, from heart disease to obesity. Dr. Alexander Khoruts, a gastroenterologist at the U of M and lead principal investigator on the project, said the right balance of bacteria has the potential to improve the body’s energy metabolism, in part by enhancing insulin function. Insulin drives glucose from blood into cells of the body.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Can this drug for Tylenol overdose make inroads with Type 1 diabetes?

A low-cost Tylenol overdose drug already available for cystic fibrosis use will soon enter clinical trials aimed at discovering whether it can aid in treating an additional condition: Type 1 diabetes.

The drug, a natural supplement, is thought to have potential use in the treatment of hypoglycemia, a condition in which too little blood sugar is present in the body.

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in-the-news

In The News: The burden of diabetes

By 2050, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in three people in the U.S. could have diabetes. Each year, the number of people with type one and type two diabetes increases.

Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D.Medical School, recently spoke with KSTP-TV about diabetes research and how the disease’s prevalence can be decreased.

Seaquist also wrote an article for The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) titled, Addressing the Burden of Diabetes.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M, Harvard partner in search for answers to diabetic kidney disease

Last October, Health Talk told you about a new University of Minnesota and Harvard University partnership involving a clinical trial called Preventing Early Renal Loss in Diabetes (PERL) that will help researchers gain a better understanding around improving the health of people with diabetes and kidney complications.

As part of National Kidney Month, which wraps up at the end of March, Health Talk wanted to revisit the PERL study in an effort to raise awareness on the prevalence and public health concerns that kidney disease in type 1 diabetes causes on the American public and its health system.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes? Take the test and find out

Today is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, a one-day “wake-up call” asking Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

According to the ADA, 79 million Americans, or one in three adults, have prediabetes, putting adults at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Oftentimes a diabetes diagnosis comes up to 7-10 years after disease onset causing major medical complications and even death. That’s why early diagnosis is vital to successfully treat and possibly delay or prevent type 2 diabetes complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and death.

The Diabetes Risk Test is simple and you only have to answer questions like weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M study finds pancreatectomy and islet autotransplantation provides significant sustained pain relief in children with chronic pancreatitis

Researchers in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Surgery have found that total pancreatectomy and islet autotransplantation (TP-IAT) can provide significant, sustained pain relief and improve the quality of life in children with chronic pancreatitis (CP). Traditionally, surgeons would refrain from operating on younger patients, especially children, however this research shows that younger children actually fared better after surgery and had fewer complications than their counterparts.

The study was led by Srinath Chinnakotla, M.D., associate professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and was recently published in the Annals of Surgery.

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