Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A New Hope for Diabetes Patients

Many people struggle with diabetes each day, with constantly having to check blood-sugar levels and supplement themselves with insulin. Diabetes is known for having high blood-sugar levels due to the body producing little to no insulin itself. Insulin is a hormone typically produced in the body of normal functioning humans which affects the metabolism of a person as well as taking in glucose from blood and storing it as glycogen in other body cells. I personally don't have diabetes but I have a grandmother who does and for many years I have seen her struggle in dealing with the imbalance of her blood-sugar levels. Constantly having to insert a shot of insulin must become a pain after a while. Diabetes patients are constantly known for having several medical conditions such as kidney failure, blindness, and limb amputation. I know my grandmother has dealt many years with skin problems, and recently muscle problems that are due to having diabetes.

There are two main type of diabetes type one and type two. Type one is more fatal because the body doesn't produce any of its own insulin. Before insulin was supplemented into the bodies of diabetes' patients, having diabetes was very fatal if you had type one diabetes. After the discovery of injecting insulin into type one patients the fatal condition turned into just a chronic diesease ( Couzin-Frankel). Type two diabetes is the more commonly seen type which is characterized when the body produces insulin but doesn't properly respond to it. Therefore, injected insulin into both types of patients is beneficial. However, there are always side affects and bodies don't always respond properly to insulin causing the correct dosage hard to be distinguished.What can we do about this difficulty in regulation? In the article " Appetite Suppressors Could Be an Alternative to Insulin" published in Science, new research is being done to propose that the appetite suppressor hormone, leptin, could be used as a replacement to insulin.

Researcher Roger Unger at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has been studying the affects this hormone has on diabetes. His research included 15 diabetic mice who were pumped with leptin for 12 days and 15 mice who were pumped with regular insulin. So far his research has proved that both groups of tested mice were able to gain normal glucose levels. If this hormone can do the same thing as insulin what does it matter? Well, Unger has stated that he also believes the use of this hormone will alleviate the changes in blood-sugar levels that many patients suffer from.

Overall I think research of this hormone is a great idea I know many patients suffer from imbalance in their blood- sugar levels. Like much research in this field, use of the hormone leptin is still only in animal testing phase. I still wonder if certain side affects will be able to be solved. Because an appetite suppressor hormone is being used there are weight loss side affects expected. I also wonder what the affect of messing up with naturally occurring hormones will do to the body. The idea of this research seems promising hopefully someday we will see a way to make the lives of these patients easier.

Valerie Silva (3)


  1. I forgot to put a link to the article, sorry. This following website is the article related to this post.

    Valerie Silva

  2. Good news if this works out. I think they need to do further research to see what will be the long term effects of of introducing this to human. It is very true diabetic people go through a lot in their daily life. But this appetite suppressors may need extensive research because they may be helping to control diabetes and yet cause a irreversible significant damage on other systems in the body.

    Posted by Anna Moreno

  3. It seems like the hormone leptin may work better than insulin. Many diabetics are overweight, and if they are taking an appetite suppressing hormone they may be much better off. I read somewhere that nearly 90% of all type 2 diabetics are overweight. If the hormone leptin works just as well as insulin, I think it would be a much safer and beneficial approach.

    Posted by Ryan Brooks

  4. I feel this is great news, the thought of being able to give diabetes sufferers a better quality of life is a break through. Hormones therapy sounds to me like a viable option and will look forward to further research on the subject. I also feel the long term effects on humans need to be obtained.In my opinion a better quality of life should be the end result of all medical research.

  5. If they notice that there is a difference and leptin in the better choice, I wonder what the different properties are of leptin than insulin. Why would this hormone stop blood sugar chages? I feel that if leptin were actually proven to work, it would be alot less of a hassel for people with diabetes. I know just getting tested for blood sugar levels randomly is annoying, I could not imagine haveing to check every hour or so for severe diabetics. Another thought would be if the hormone works of both types of diabetes. Overall, I think this would be a great advance in the medical field.

    posted by Amanda Hostetter

  6. You all seem to be in agreement with me. This would be a big break though. Ryan I agree with you to a point. Although it has been shown that some people with diabetes are overweight, I wonder how dramatic of an effect the leptin would have on weight loss. If it is too dramatic diabetes patients could begin to suffer a different problem.
    -Valerie Silva-