September 13, 2012

Research Cited on the Blood Sugar 101 FaceBook Page

It's been a while since I posted the list of the links to news stories I've cited on the Blood Sugar 101 FaceBook page, so here they are. I've organized them by general topic.

Causes of Diabetes and Obesity
Gut Bacteria: Fish study illuminates how gut bacteria associated with obesity might promote it. The bacteria, also found associated with obesity in humans increases the absorption of dietary fat. i
Storing higher amounts of fat in the pancreas may explain high rate of diabetes in Hispanics. Insulin deficiency--as is so often the case--is the problem in the Latinos studies here, not insulin resistance.

PFOAs: "Increasing PFOA levels were associated with CVD [heart disease] and PAD [peripheral artery disease], independent of various confounders (ie, age, sex, race, smoking status, BMI, diabetes, hypertension and serum cholesterol levels)." " PFOAs are found in furniture (fire retardants), surfactants, lubricants, polishes, paper and textile coatings, and food packaging.

This is the kind of problem that should be addressed by politicians because as individuals we can't protect ourselves from these dangerous chemicals. (I mentioned the research about PFOAs in Diet 101 since it is one of the known pollutants that contribute to insulin resistance.)
More evidence that environmental chemicals are causing obesity in very young children.  Chemical exposure in the womb from household items may contribute to obesity

Phthalates: Phthalates cause both obesity and diabetes. They are in just about everything we buy.  CBS News reports:

"For the investigation, scientists randomly purchased and tested 20 back-to-school items from New York City dollar stores and other retailers. They found Disney's Dora the Explorer Backpack contained phthalate levels over 69 times higher than the allowable federal limit for toys. The Amazing Spiderman Lunchbox contained 27 times the federal limit, while the Disney Princess Lunchbox exceeded the toy limit by 29 times. Children's rain coats, rain boots and 3-ring binders also were found to contain the toxins."

How much of this toxic chemical did you bring back from your last shopping trip?
BPA: Urine levels of this plastic in humans correlate with the presence of narrowed arteries.;jsessionid=BEB6D6767CE1D9A15175A02A7A796E6A

Explained here:
Inflammation: Neutrophils (a kind of white blood cell whose job is to attack bacteria) raise insulin resistance: this may provide insight into the connection between inflammation and IR.  Rather than just suppressing them, though, we need to ask what is provoking the inflammation.

Gum Disease: A huge epidemiological study (NHANES) links gum disease with insulin resistance. The link is likely causative--the inflammation from gum disease increases insulin resistance and raises blood sugar. Eliminating gum disease can often lower blood sugar. But lowering blood sugar can also make it easier to fight gum disease.

Though the people in this study are called "diabetes free" we know that current testing methods for diabetes miss many people who have diabetic blood sugars after they eat.

Complications of Diabetes
Retinopathy: Black Americans develop retinopathy at lower A1c levels than whites.  Retinopathy begin at A1c levels of 6% to 6.4% for white patients vs. 5.5% to 5.9% for black patients. That's probably because A1cs are not reliable for diagnosing diabetes when people have certain genetic red blood cell variants, like the sickle cell trait.

"Results suggesting that the prevalence of retinopathy appears to increase at a lower HbA1c level in black patients with diabetes vs. white patients have led researchers to recommend against raising the diagnostic threshold of HbA1c in black patients."

If you are a Black person, use your meter to measure your post-meal blood sugars. That isn't affected by the sickle cell trait and post-meal numbers, rather than the A1c will give you a very good measure of how effective your control is.  To avoid retinopathy, keep your blood sugar below 140 mg/dl at all times if possible. Blood sugars rising over 200 mg/dl at any time correlate with a much higher risk of diabetic retinopathy leading to blindness.

Diet and Weight Loss 
Eating on a schedule may provide better weight control by using circadian clock to burn fat: Yes, this is a mouse study but even so the finding is intriguing.  It shows that "... a carefully scheduled high-fat diet can lead to a reduction in body weight and a unique metabolism in which ingested fats are not stored, but rather used for energy at times when no food is available."

Note that the "high fat diet" give mice is actually a junk food diet--high in fat and carbs. Even so the mice in this study who ate strictly scheduled meals gained less weight than those eating any other diet they were given.

Organic Food: 
Bad Science: A much touted new meta study claims organic food "not healthier" than nonorganic food. This claim is made by pooling the results of many separate studies (the funding of which is not revealed but is likely to be from big food companies). The claim of equivalence rests on the idea that the amount of nutrients is the same. But it brushes away hese findings:

" ... researchers found that organic produce had a 30 percent lower risk of pesticide contamination than conventional fruits and vegetables ... Two studies of children consuming organic and conventional diets did find lower levels of pesticide residues in the urine of children on organic diets, though the significance of these findings on child health is unclear. Additionally, organic chicken and pork appeared to reduce exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the clinical significance of this is also unclear

Pesticides in the bloodstream contributed heavily to obesity and diabetes.

In a long-running study, monkeys whose caloric intake was restricted by 30 percent didn’t live any longer than their normal-weight peers. This article analyzes why this study differs from an earlier one that showed a life-extension benefit.

You need to eat fat with your salad to properly digest the micro nutrients it contains.

Smoking and Insulin Secretion: If you want to stop smoking and not gain weight, cut your carbs then quit.  Increased bodyweight after stopping smoking may be due to changes in insulin secretion which may increase hunger.  This effect takes about 3 months to wear off.

"The most striking metabolic findings were an increased first phase insulin secretion in response to glucose challenge, as well as increased carbohydrate intake in the free choice buffet after three months of non-smoking. Participants showed significant fasting insulin resistance, where the normal response to a given amount of insulin is reduced, at three months, but not at six months, while dynamic insulin sensitivity (the sensitivity to insulin in the postprandial state) assessed during the OGTT remained unchanged throughout."

This means more insulin is produced but actual insulin sensitivity remains the same. (The way that fasting IR is calculated is misleading here.) This means blood sugar will drop more sharply after eating, which causes hunger.

Treatments for Diabetes
New Drug: A new (expensive) opiate has just approved for neuropathy. But it only treats the symptom, not the caase. You can reverse neuropahty (over several months) by lowering your blood sugar until it is below 140 mg/dl at all times after meals. This is better than taking an addictive drug that masks the symptoms of the nerve damage that leads to impotence, infections that won't heal and cause amputation, and damage to the autonomic nerves that lead to heart beat abnormalities and, potentially, death.

Instructions on how to lower your blood sugar below 140 mg/dl can be found HERE.

Actos: The FDA has approved the first generic version of Actos. If it ever makes it into your local pharmacy the media will finally learn about the serious side effects of this dangerous drug, which include serious osteoporosis, retinal edema, and heart failure in people who didn't have heart failure before they started the drug.

The sudden "discovery" of dangerous side effects is what happened when Lipitor went off patent. Suddenly the media "discovered" that it significantly raised the risk of developing diabetes.

Cheap Strips: Walmart is selling 50 strips for its Relion Prime meter for $9. The meter is $16.24. Tell your friends who could benefit from checking their blood sugars after meals. This is a real opportunity for those who have hitherto been unable to afford the blood sugar testing strips needed to get full control over blood sugar using the "Test, test, test" strategy you'll find explained HERE.

Experimental Retinal Prosthesis: Researchers have come up with a retinal prosthesis that appears to work in mice and may offer real hope to people who have gone blind from retinopaty. This is still highly experimental mouse research, but even so it's a huge breakthrough.
Artificial Retina Could Restore Sight To The Blind

Omega-3 supplementation: Using Fish Oil fails to live up to the many health claims made for it. Fish oil failed to demonstrate brain-protecting effect in random controlled trials and a study of 70,000 people finds it doesn't lower the risk of stroke or heart attack.

The way doctors continue to insist it must be good for you reminds me of the response to the low fat diet research that showed the diet did not avoid heart disease.

Getting your fish oil from eating fish rather than pills may be a poor strategy given the very high level of mercury and other pollutants in most fish today--which is way higher than what you see in the published tables most health authorities rely on, which still display data collected in the 1970s when toxin levels were much lower.

Harmful Drugs and Treatments
NSAIDs: An epidemiological study find that all NSAIDS are linked to higher risk of having second heart attack. Heart attack survivors who take the most commonly used pain relievers face a raised risk for dying or suffering another heart attack, new research shows.

While it is possible that the need for pain relievers is related to some other cause of heart attack, there is other evidence which suggests that the mechanism by which NSAIDs work may raise cardiac risk.

Drugs that lower sex drive: Antidepressants, Statins, Beta Blockers, and opiate pain killers. Thee of the four very commonly prescribed to people with diabetes.

Corporate Malfeasance

American Diabetes Association: 78% of funds donated to American Diabetes Association go to a telemarketing company that lies about the percentage it takes. I reported about this problem in 2008based on a report in the L.A. Times HERE. Since then the ADA has done nothing to correct the problem and, in fact, it has grown worse.

Don't contribute to the ADA and explain to your friends and family why, if they care about people with diabetes,  they should not give the ADA a penny.

For fraudulently representing and marketing Paxil, Welbutrin and Avandia, GSK's fine is a tiny fraction of its earnings.

Risperdal: A slap on the wrist for a drug company whose atypical antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, causes obesity and raises the risk of diabetes. The off label uses turned out to kill people. $181M sounds like a lot, but they earn billions each year from this drug.

Lying Drug-Company Funded Researchers: "Only one in seven authors reported by whistleblowers to be involved in off-label marketing activities fully disclosed their conflict of interest in published articles.

"Conflict-of-interest statements made by physicians and scientists in their medicajournal articles after they had been allegedly paid by pharmaceutical manufacturers as part of off-label marketing programs are often inadequate, highlighting the deficiencies in relying on author candidness and the weaknesses in some journal practices in ensuring proper disclosure, according to a study by international researchers published in this week's PLoS Medicine."