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Curing Type 2 Diabetes: Surgical Vs. Non-Surgical Weight Loss

Science Translational Medicine

Science Translational Medicine

The April 27, 2011 issue of Science Translational Medicine included a study titled “Differential Metabolic Impact of Gastric Bypass Surgery Versus Dietary Intervention in Obese Diabetic Subjects Despite Identical Weight Loss.

Melissa Bagloo, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at the Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery, NYP/Columbia, explains the context and importance of this study.

Q: What did this study find?

Dr. Bagloo: For years, surgeons have observed that gastric bypass surgery cures diabetes in over 80% of patients with diabetes. This improvement in blood sugar levels happens almost immediately after surgery, and far before any significant weight loss occurs. What’s more, studies have found that when patients lose the same amount of weight through diet as other patients lose after surgery, those who had surgery experience significantly better improvement in their diabetes than those who lost weight non-surgically. So we know surgery dramatically improves or resolves diabetes, but we do not know why this happens.

This recent study in Science Translational Medicine found an important clue as to why this effect may occur. The researchers found that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

Electronic Pancreas May Keep Glucose In Safe Range Overnight

9o5ay97d.pngA team led by researchers from University of Cambridge showed that closed loop insulin delivery was effective in controlling overnight blood glucose levels in patients with type 1 diabetes. The system took readings every fifteen minutes and automatically titrated a proper amount of insulin.

University of Cambridge researcher Dr Roman Hovorka led two studies to evaluate the performance of the artificial pancreas in 10 men and 14 women, aged 18 to 65, who had used an insulin pump for at least three months. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Does Cell Phone Use Stimulate Brain Activity?

We all know that using a cell phone can stimulate the brain to work a bit harder. “Mr. Skerrett? This is Dr. LeWine’s office. Do you have a minute to talk about your test results?” or “Dad, a bunch of kids are going to Casey’s house after the dance. Can I go?” But a new study published in JAMA is making me wonder what the energy emitted by the phone itself — not just the information it delivers — is doing to my brain.

Here’s the study in a nutshell. Dr. Nora Volkow and her colleagues recruited 47 volunteers to have their brain activity measured twice by a PET scanner. Both times the volunteer had a cell phone strapped to each ear. During one measurement, both phones were turned off. During the other, one phone was turned on but muted so the volunteer didn’t know it was on; the other was left off. Each session lasted about an hour. The scans showed a small increase in the brain’s use of glucose (blood sugar) when the phone was on, but only in parts of the brain close to the antenna.

It was an elegant study. The researchers took pains to anticipate sources of error. They used a control (both phones off) against which to compare the effect of a “live” cell phone. They used cell phones on each ear, one on and one off, to see if the effect was localized. They muted the phone that was on to eliminate the possibility that any brain activation was due to listening to the sound of a voice coming through the phone’s speaker. So the result is probably a real one, not an artifact or measurement error.

What does this brain activation mean? No one really knows. As Dr. Volkow told NPR, “I cannot say if it is bad that they [cell phones] are increasing glucose metabolism, or if it could be good.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*

Santabetes: How Diabetes Is Like Santa Claus

(Note:  This post contains spoilers.  If you are like my girl Brittany and you believe happily in the story of Santa, skip down to where it says “Diabetes is like Santa Claus.”)

My husband and I share a philosophy on Santa Claus.  

Santa gets too much credit.  Why should Santa get all the glory for the gifts that show up underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning?  Mom and Dad work their tails off to provide a fun and comfortable life for our child, and to have the fun thunder (funder?) stolen by Santa Claus is unfair.  “Thank you, Santa, for the Barbie and the Rockers van!”  I shouted as a kid, not realizing that Mom and Dad put in some extra hours (and spent half the night assembling the stupid thing) to get that Rocker Van under our Christmas tree. 

So BSparl will be fed the Santa story, but she’ll also understand that her Christmas gifts come mostly from her parents, and not from a fictional cookie thief who shimmies down the chimney.  Santa doesn’t work as hard as we do, so he shouldn’t get all the credit.

Diabetes is like Santa Claus.  (Welcome back, Brittany!)  Only in this case, it SHOULD be the one given most of the credit for certain things.  And I shouldn’t give myself so much of the blame and guilt.  I have a tendency to look at a blood sugar reading and instantly blame myself for it. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

A Parking Lot “Low”

Part of me would love to ride in one of these down a steep hill.  The other part of me wants to live.“Brrrrr…it’s a little chilly outside today,” I said to BSparl as I tucked her blanket snug around her wiggly little self in the car seat. She waved at me and showed me her sock.

“Yes, that’s a nice sock, birdy. Okay, let’s get out of here and get you into the car so we can go home!”

The automatic doors parted and a brisk gust of wind came and skipped down my collar. With the baby’s car seat safely tucked into the belly of the carriage, I ventured out to find my car in the massive parking lot. 

“Ha ha, where did Mommy leave the car?” I said out loud, walking up and down the parking lot aisles and pressing the alarm on my keys. Nothing. No flashing lights, no subtle little “beep” noise from my Honda. Nothing but a sea of cars and I had no idea which one was mine.

“Am I getting old?” I asked BSparl. “Mmmmmm!”  she proclaimed, raising her teething toy into the air.

I walked for several minutes, combing the lot for my car. And the wind kept whipping, only this time it felt good because it kept whisking the sweat off the nape of my neck. I felt dizzy. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

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