1-Exercise may decrease hepatic fat for patients with type 2 diabetes, study indicates.
MedPage Today (9/19, Gever) reported that “six months of regular moderate exercise substantially reduced hepatic fat in patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers found.” For the study, Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D., of Johns Hopkins University, and colleagues took “77 patients, mean age 57.5, with uncomplicated type 2 diabetes,” none of which “were on insulin therapy or had coronary disease,” and divided them into two groups. One group was “assigned to three sessions a week of moderate aerobic exercise and weight lifting,” which consisted of “45 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity and two sets of seven exercises with weights, at 50 percent of one repetition maximum, per session.” Meanwhile, “the control group was given general advice about the benefits of exercise, but [was] asked not to join a formal program outside the study.” Researchers found that the experimental group “had a mean hepatic fat level of 5.6 percent after six months, compared with 8.5 percent in [the] control group.” But, “at baseline, the mean level” of hepatic fat “was 7.3 percent in both groups.”
2-Scientists discover hormone in mice that may help treat obesity-related conditions.
HealthDay (9/19) reported, “Scientists believe they have discovered a new class of hormones in mice, one of which may help stop or reverse obesity-related conditions such as insulin resistance and fatty liver,” according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health published in the Sept. 19 issue of Cell. “Lipokines, unlike other hormones which are steroid- or protein-based, were found in the fat cells of the genetically engineered mice. One of these hormones, ‘C16:1n7’ or palmitoleate, appears to flag the muscles and liver to increase cell sensitivity to insulin and block fat accumulation in the liver.” The hormone “also appeared to halt inflammation, a primary factor leading to metabolic disease.” The School of Public Health said that if the effect is similar in people, the hormone discovery “may allow the development of therapeutic or preventive treatments to counter rising obesity and resulting increases in potentially fatal metabolic disorders such as diabetes and atherosclerosis.”
3-“Friendly” gut bacteria may be instrumental in preventing onset of type 1 diabetes.
The U.K.'s Press Association (9/22) reports that researchers at the University of Chicago and Yale University discovered that a “friendly bacteria in the gut may protect against insulin-dependent diabetes.” According to a study published in Nature, the investigators also “demonstrated the role played by the immune system protein MyD88 in type 1 diabetes.”
Their work “relates to type 1 diabetes that often develops in childhood when for some reason the body’s own immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas,” the U.K.'s Telegraph (9/21, Alleyne) explained. Specifically, the team “studied mice” with “a pre-disposition for diabetes,” and “had had all bacteria removed from their bodies.” After raising the rodents in a “completely germ-free environment,” the scientists found that “80 percent of the mice developed severe type 1 diabetes.” But, “when they were given back a cocktail of the bacterial ‘flora’ normally found in the mammalian gut, only around a third of the animals became ill.” Lead investigator Alexander Chervonsky, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, said, “It is absolutely exciting. The onset of type 1 diabetes is genetic and very complex, but we think it can be manipulated with these bacteria.” The Telegraph pointed out that the “study also gave further weight to the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ – the theory that a lack of exposure to parasites, bacteria, and viruses in the developed world may be leading to increased risk of diseases like allergies, asthma, and other disorders of the immune system.”
Over “the past decade, it has become evident that the environment plays a role in the development of some overly robust immune system responses,” according to Science Daily (9/21). Co-author Li Wen, of Yale, said, “This understanding may allow us to design ways to target the immune system through altering the balance of friendly gut bacteria and protect against diabetes.” The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (9/22) also covers the story.