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Research snapshot: Improved fitness linked to reduced type 2 diabetes risk

In a new University of Minnesota Medical School study, researchers found that increasing fitness could slow the onset or reduce risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

The longest-running study of its kind, researchers looked at more than 4,000 participants from Minnesota, California, Alabama and Illinois, with data spanning over more than two decades. The study was published in Diabetologia.

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Intensive blood pressure lowering in patients with type 2 diabetes may have beneficial effect in preventing atrial fibrillation

The most common heart rhythm abnormality, atrial fibrillation, is categorized by a rapid or irregular heartbeat leading to poor blood flow. In patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), there have been no proven strategies to prevent this condition, until recently.

In a new study from the University of Minnesota Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, researchers found that as compared with standard blood pressure lowering, intensive blood pressure lowering in patients with T2DM was associated with a reduced incidence of atrial fibrillation and abnormal P-Wave indices (PWI).


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UMN experts: New cases of diabetes may be down but more work is needed

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found new cases of diabetes dropped by roughly one-fifth from 2008-2014, from 1.7 million to 1.4 million. And while the investigators are unsure whether prevention efforts are working or if the disease peaked in the U.S., the findings were good news after decades of seeing numbers skyrocket.

According to a recent New York Times article, “there is growing evidence that eating habits, after decades of deterioration, have finally begun to improve. The amount of soda Americans drink has declined by about a quarter since the late 1990s, and the average number of daily calories children and adults consume also has fallen. Physical activity has started to rise, and once-surging rates of obesity, a major driver of type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, have flattened.”

Health Talk spoke with Mark Pereira, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology and community health in the School of Public Health and Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D., professor of medicine in the University of Minnesota Medical School to help understand the numbers.

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Research Snapshot: Blood biomarkers can predict successful intensification of glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes

When treating patients with diabetes, it is important to bring blood sugars down to a normal level. However, in doing so, patients can become hypoglycemic – meaning their blood sugar has dropped below the normal level. As hypoglycemia is often dangerous and scary, fear of hypoglycemia frequently limits the ability to lower blood sugars even to normal levels.

In a recent study from the University of Minnesota, certain blood biomarkers have been found that might predict whether lowering blood sugars to near-normal levels might be associated with severe hypoglycemia, hypoglycemia requiring treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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U of M study finds sit-stand workstations help improve blood pressure, reduce cardiometabolic risk

You’re likely sitting down as you read this, but perhaps you should stand instead.

On average, adult Americans spend more than 7.5 hours per day sedentary (not counting sleep time), and employed adults in primarily office jobs spend up to 75 percent of their time at work sitting.

Recent studies also suggest that even modest decreases in sedentary time can help reduce your risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and premature mortality.

Still sitting?

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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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