June 10th, 2014
12:30 PM ET
The number of Americans with diabetes continues to rise - there are now more than 29 million adults living with the disease, according to the latest data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. That’s 3 million more than the last time the CDC released diabetes statistics in 2011.
The CDC estimates that a quarter of these adults living with diabetes in the United States don’t even know they are sick, meaning they haven't been diagnosed.
An additional 86 million American adults have what’s called “pre-diabetes,” which means that their blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet on the level of diabetes. And nearly all – 90% - of these Americans do not know they are headed down a dangerous road. The CDC estimates that 15 to 30% of people with pre-diabetes will develop diabetes within five years if they don't exercise and lose weight.
“These new numbers are alarming and underscore the need for an increased focus on reducing the burden of diabetes in our country,” Ann Albright, the CDC’s director of the division of diabetes translation, said in a press release. “It’s urgent that we take swift action to effectively treat and prevent this serious disease.”
People with diabetes are at increased risk for blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke. The disease is usually linked to obesity, lack of physical activity and/or a family history of the disease.
May 20th, 2014
03:44 PM ET
The good news is that even if you have gestational diabetes, exercise can help.
A new study published this week in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine finds that every two hours of moderate activity (like walking or gardening) each week reduces a women's risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 9%. Women who added 2.5 hours or more of moderate activity to their weekly regimen reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by 47%.
May 15th, 2014
06:01 PM ET
Editor's note: This blog was originally published in June 2013 when the research was presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago. The final study results were published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia.
You've probably heard that eating multiple small meals throughout the day is a good way to stave off hunger and keep your metabolism revved up while trying to lose weight. But a new study could change your diet strategy.
Eating two large meals early and skipping dinner may lead to more weight loss than eating six smaller meals throughout the day, the study suggests.
"Both experimental and human studies strongly support the positive effects of intermittent fasting," lead study author Dr. Hana Kahleova told CNN in an e-mail.
April 29th, 2014
08:51 AM ET
It's not a secret that some diabetics also have memory issues, but a new study suggests it's not just due to clogging of blood vessels - your brain may actually be shrinking.
When the brain shrinks, it's often because valuable brain cells that help us think and remember are dying. A loss of brain cells is a hallmark for Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.
In this new study, published in the journal Radiology, researchers looked at brain scans from a little more than 600 people age 55 and older with type 2 diabetes. They found that patients who lived with diabetes the longest had smaller brain volumes. FULL POST
April 24th, 2014
07:44 PM ET
Need an excuse to drink yet another cup of coffee today? A new study suggests that increasing coffee consumption may decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes.
The apparent relationship between coffee and type 2 diabetes is not new. Previous studies have found that drinking a few cups or more each day may lower your risk - with each subsequent cup nudging up the benefit.
This most recent study, published in the journal Diabetologia, was more concerned with how changing coffee consumption - either increasing it or decreasing it over time - might affect your risk.
April 14th, 2014
05:01 PM ET
The prevalence of diabetes in the United States has nearly doubled in the past two decades, according to a study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study authors found that this rise in diabetes from 5.5% to 9.3% of the U.S. population over the last 20 years paralleled the growing rate of obesity in America.
Better screening tools such as a hemoglobin A1c diagnostic test have also helped physicians identify more diabetes cases, the researchers say.
In 1988, about 16% of individuals who met the criteria for diabetes were not diagnosed by a physician. That number fell to 11% in 2010. Because the total number of diabetics in the United States has increased to nearly 21 million, the study authors say the number of estimated undiagnosed cases - around 2.3. million - has remained the same over the last two decades.
"My hope, and obviously everybody's hope, is that 11% will go down further as there's improved access to healthcare for all Americans," said Dr. Martin Abrahamson, who was not involved in the study.
Experts predict that the number of Americans with diabetes will reach 44 million by 2034 if things don't change.
March 5th, 2014
09:12 AM ET
Eating a high-protein diet in middle age could increase your risk of diabetes and cancer, according to a study published this week in the journal Cell Metabolism. But don't stay away from meat for too long - the same study showed those over 65 need more protein to reduce their mortality risk.
Insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, is a protein in your body related to growth and development. Past studies have linked IGF-1 to age-related diseases, including cancer. Mice and humans with higher levels of IGF-1 often have a higher risk of developing these diseases.
Scientists believe protein intake plays a role in IGF-1 activity. Eating less protein, studies have shown, can lead to lower levels of IGF-1 in your body. So theoretically, protein consumption could be directly linked to disease incidence and death. FULL POST
February 4th, 2014
02:41 PM ET
The National Institutes of Health is partnering with researchers from 10 rival drug companies and several nonprofit organizations to develop new and earlier treatments for diseases including diabetes, Alzheimer's and lupus.
The partnership, announced Tuesday by NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, "could change the way scientific research is conducted."
"This is an unprecedented partnership, bringing the best and brightest scientists from the public and the private sectors together to discover the next generation of drug targets that are going to transform our ability to treat Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and that's just getting started,” Collins said.
The consortium will be known as the Accelerating Medicines Partnership. It will focus at first on three disease groups: Alzheimer's, diabetes and autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
November 14th, 2013
12:01 AM ET
On World Diabetes Day, news about the disease's global impact is dire.
An estimated 382 million people worldwide have diabetes, according to a new report from the International Diabetes Federation. The IDF expects that number to rise to 592 million by 2035, when one in every 10 people will have the disease.
"Diabetes in all its forms imposes unacceptably high human, social and economic costs on countries at all income levels," the report authors begin in the executive summary. They go on to say that this latest edition of the Diabetes Atlas "carries a bitter but unavoidable message: despite the array of tools at our disposal to tackle the disease... the battle to protect people from diabetes and its disabling, life-threatening complications is being lost."
October 25th, 2013
02:08 PM ET
Here's a roundup of five medical studies published recently that might give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Some obesity may be related to slow metabolism, really
"Slow metabolism" as an explanation for obesity has been largely knocked down by doctors as inaccurate. But University of Cambridge researchers showed in a new study that mutations on a particular gene slow metabolism, which may be linked to obesity in some people.
Previous research had shown that mice without the gene KSR2 tended to become overweight.
In this study, researchers sequenced the DNA of 2,101 people with severe early-onset obesity and 1,536 people who were not obese. They saw that mutations in KSR2 were associated with "hyperphagia (increased appetite) in childhood, low heart rate, reduced basal metabolic rate and severe insulin resistance."
Fewer than one in 100 people have KSR2 mutations, and some of those do have normal weight, BBC News reports.
This genetics research could have implications for developing drugs that help people with obesity and type 2 diabetes, the study said.
High blood sugar linked to memory problems
Past studies have suggested that diabetes raises the risk for Alzheimer's disease although it's not entirely clear why. New research finds that even in people who don't have diabetes, chronically higher blood glucose levels are associated with poorer outcomes in the brain.
This study looked at 141 people, average age 63, without diabetes or pre-diabetes. No participants were overweight or had memory and thinking impairment.
On cognitive tests, participants with lower blood glucose levels performed better in terms of delayed recall, learning ability and memory consolidation than those with higher levels. What's more, those with higher levels tended to have smaller volumes in the hippocampus, a sea horse-shaped brain structure crucial for memory.
“These results suggest that even for people within the normal range of blood sugar, lowering their blood sugar levels could be a promising strategy for preventing memory problems and cognitive decline as they age,” study author Dr. Agnes Flöel of Charité University Medicine in Berlin said in a statement. “Strategies such as lowering calorie intake and increasing physical activity should be tested.”
This study received significant media attention, but Dr. Jane Chiang, the American Diabetes Association's Senior vice president of medical affairs and community information, said she has a lot of concerns about the way it was conducted. The participants weren't entirely "healthy," according to their blood glucose levels – in fact, they may have diabetes and not know it, she said.
A bigger concern, Chiang said, is that older adults aren't recommended to have a strictly regulated "normal" blood glucose in the first place. Low blood sugar presents dangerous risks of falls and seizures, so the American Diabetes Association discourages tight blood sugar control in older adults.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.