DiabetesChoices Digest November 23 2011

Welcome to the latest DiabetesChoices round-up of diabetes and diet news and research. Today: stevia gets European OK, stem cells explained, artificial pancreas makes progess, and Amelia Lily’s hidden talent …

News

George and Amy to lead type 1 lobby

George Dove, 13, from Nottinghamshire, and 16-year-old Amy Wilton from Hampshire have been chosen as the co-chairs of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Type 1 Parliament, which will send 60 delegates to the Houses of Parliament on April 25 2012 to lobby MPs for more support for research into type 1 diabetes. For more information see the JDRF website.

Amelia Lily reveals hidden talent

The singer Amelia Lily has revealed on the X Factor official website that she has an unusual party trick: she does a remarkably life-like impression of a baby crying. But Amelia, who has type 1 diabetes, isn’t crying after making it through to this weekend’s shows as one of the final five acts.

Stevia gets EU approval

Stevia, the very low calorie sweetener made from a South American plant, was approved for use in Europe on November 12, and is expected to reach supermarket shelves from early December, according to the manufacturers’ organisation, the Global Stevia Institute. Click here  for Diabetes Choices’ report on stevia.

All about stem cells

NHS Choices News has produced a special report on the current status of stem cell research, which includes an update on how stem cells are being used to find out more about type 1 diabetes.

Research

Low water intake and type 2 diabetes link?

In a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, researchers in France noted that, in a group of more than 3,500 people followed up for nine years, those who reported that they drank less than half a litre of water a day were more likely to go on to develop hyperglycaemia than those who said they drank more than a litre.

Focus on family risk more to prevent type 2

Programmes aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes in people who are at risk could be more successful if they emphasised the importance of family history more, according to an analysis published in the journal Primary Care Diabetes. Researchers in Holland studies existing prevention programmes and found that having type 2 diabetes in the family was generally not discussed although this might help people’s motivation to make lifestyle changes.

Further progress for artificial pancreas

The ‘artificial pancreas’ for people with type 1 diabetes is slowly becoming a reality as real-life trials are carried out to test its effectiveness and safety. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that the closed loop system was as effective as a standard insulin pump when tested for two 24-hour periods on 12 pregnant women with well-controlled type 1 diabetes. JDRF reports that outpatient testing is set to begin in France and Italy; two patients have already managed a meal in a restaurant and a night in a hotel using the system, which controls the flow of insulin from a continuous glucose monitor to an insulin pump by means of a complex algorithm.

‘No diabetes and Parkinson’s link’

The supposition that having diabetes may be linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease is not backed up by evidence, according to a meta-analysis of the literature published in the journal Diabetes Care. The Italian authors say that more research is needed into confounding factors that may give rise to the appearance of a link.

Focus more on fibre, less fat

Encouraging teenagers to eat plant-based foods that are high in nutrients and fibre may be more effective in preventing them from gaining weight and developing metabolic syndrome than focusing on a low-fat diet, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Researchers analysed data on more than 2,000 teenagers in the USA to conclude that focusing solely on banning high-fat foods may not be the best approach.

Further processed red meat and type 2 link

A study of a group of more than 66,000 women in France, who were followed for 14 years from 1993 to 2007, found that those who said they ate more processed red meat were more likely to go on to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate little. Reporting their findings in the journal Diabetes Care, the researchers said that women who said they ate five servings (at around 48g a serving) of processed red meat a week were more likely to develop type 2 in later years than those who ate one serving or less a week. However, there was no link found between unprocessed red meat and diabetes.

Look after oral health with diabetes

Gum disease and diabetes are closely linked and good oral health should be central for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, concludes a report in the journal Diabetologia. The authors say it is not quite clear whether severe gum disease makes blood glucose control more difficult, or vice versa, but that controlling gum disease has been shown to reduce HbA1c (blood glucose) levels. For more on diabetes and oral health in Diabetes Choices click here.

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