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New drug could help treat stress-related diabetes

Written by Editorial Team |Published : October 15, 2014 3:28 PM IST

Personalised treatment for Type 2 diabetes could be available soon as researchers have found that yohimbin, a drug that was de-registered for several years, effectively blocks damaging effects of a gene variant that impairs insulin production. The drug showed promise in both animal experiments as well as in trials with donated human insulin-producing cells.

'Yohimbin neutralised the effects of the risk gene. The carriers of the risk gene gained the same capacity to secrete insulin as those without the risk variant,' said principal study author Yunzhao Tang from the Lund University in Sweden. 'The concept of treatment personalised to the individual's risk profile has great potential. Our results show that it is possible to block the effects of a common risk gene for type 2 diabetes,' lead researcher Anders Rosengren, the diabetes researcher at the Lund University, said. (Read: Cinnamon or dalchini perfect natural aid to control diabetes)

Researchers from the Lund University reported in 2009 that a common gene variant in the population makes insulin-producing cells sensitive to stress hormones. This greatly impairs the cells' capacity to secrete insulin. For the new study, 50 patients with type 2 diabetes were recruited. Of all the participants, 21 of them did not have the risk variant. (Read: Prevent diabetes Tip: Manage your stress to control your blood sugar level)

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When Yohimbin was administered, the capacity to secrete insulin improved. 'The fact that this was an old drug made this journey a lot faster. The substance had already been tested for safety and approved', co-researcher Erik Renstram added. 'Purely theoretically, the drug should be effective for 40 percent of Type 2 diabetes sufferers, who are carriers of the genetic risk variant,' Rosengren added. (Read: 10 tips to prevent diabetes)

However, the researcher added that the substance must also be tested on more patients before it can become a clinical drug. The study appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Here are a few things every diabetic should get done

1. Get your sugar levels checked: A lot of people have prediabetes (fasting sugar: 100-125 mg/dl) and are totally clueless about it. A blood sugar test will help you to understand whether you re prediabetic and what are your chances of developing diabetes. If you get diagnosed with prediabetes, then you can take the right steps and prevent it from transforming into irreversible diabetes.

2. Change your lifestyle: Sometimes, small changes can make a huge difference. Lifestyle intervention for preventing diabetes is the best example for this. Several studies on diabetes prevention programme have proved that diabetes can be prevented effectively by giving up sedentary lifestyle and adopting healthier changes.

3. Eat healthy: Eat a healthy diet that has low calories, especially low saturated fats. Trials have shown that fat intake should not exceed 30 percent of the total calorie intake, whereas saturated fats should be restricted to just 10 percent. Include more of vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, dairy products and sources of omega 3 fats. Read more about 10 healthy resolutions for diabetics

With inputs from IANS

Photo source: Getty images

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