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.
July 10th, 2013
05:01 PM ET
Diet soda drinkers have the same health issues as those who drink regular soda, according to a new report published Wednesday.
Purdue University researchers reviewed a dozen studies published in past five years that examined the relationship between consuming diet soda and health outcomes. They then published an opinion piece on their findings in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, saying they were “shocked” by the results.
"Honestly, I thought that diet soda would be marginally better compared to regular soda in terms of health," said Susan Swithers, the report's author and a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychological sciences. “But in reality it has a counterintuitive effect.”
June 25th, 2013
11:09 AM ET
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, research presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions conference this week in Chicago 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.
February 28th, 2013
04:29 PM ET
How long have you been sitting today? Here's one more reason that you should get up and move around once in a while.
A new study in the journal Diabetologia suggests that reducing your sitting time is more important in lowering your risk of diabetes than exercise. This is just the latest in a string of research suggesting that moving around helps your health. But the new results should not replace standard recommendations for exercise, and more research is required to understand the reasons for the findings, said lead study author Joseph Henson.
"It looks as if just sitting for long periods of time has a real negative impact upon overall health," Henson said.
January 28th, 2013
04:56 PM ET
Doctors have a new set of guidelines when treating children diagnosed with type II diabetes. It's the first time recommendations have been issued for children aged 10 to 18, a sign that childhood obesity continues to have a broad impact.
More children are developing type II diabetes "largely due to the increase in obesity and overweight (patients) in the pediatric population, as well as the overall population and the decreased activity we are seeing in our young people," said Dr. Janet Silverstein, co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines and chief of endocrinology at the University of Florida's Shands Hospital.
Type II diabetes affects 90% to 95% of the 26 million Americans with diabetes, while it's still rare in children and adolescents, it's being diagnosed more frequently among minority populations including American Indians, African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and Asians/Pacific Islanders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FULL POST
November 15th, 2012
06:26 PM ET
GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of the diabetes drug Avandia, will pay tens of millions of dollars to resolve allegations that the company unlawfully promoted its drug.
In February 2010, a 334-page report by the Senate Finance Committee claimed that the drug was linked with tens of thousands of heart attacks and that GlaxoSmithKline knew of the risks for years but worked to keep them from the public. At the time, GlaxoSmithKline rejected any assertions that the drug is not safe.
"On November 15, 2012, GSK entered into a settlement with 37 states and the District of Columbia over allegations regarding the sales and promotion of Avandia. GSK has agreed to pay $90 million to be divided among the 37 states and the District of Columbia," Bernadette King, a U.S.-based spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement.
"With regards to Avandia, we firmly believe we acted responsibly in conducting the clinical trial program, in marketing the medicine, in monitoring its safety once it was approved for use and in updating information in the medicine's labeling as new information became available," she wrote.
November 15th, 2012
01:42 PM ET
The odds are increasing that you or someone you know has Type 2 diabetes. The latest Morbidity and Mortality report (MMWR) released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that from 1995 to 2010, there was at least a 100% increase in the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes cases in 18 states. Forty-two states saw an increase of at least 50%.
"Even when you know that [the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes] is increasing, to see that level of increase was shocking to me," says Linda Geiss, a statistician with CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation and the lead author of the MMWR.
"It was the 100% figure. 100% – that's a large increase."
Predictably, states in the South where obesity levels have also steadily increased had some of the highest increases in diabetes. Oklahoma topped the list with an increase of 226%, followed by Kentucky with 158%, Georgia with 145%, Alabama with 140% and the state of Washington with 135%.
July 13th, 2012
12:01 AM ET
Hidden in perfumes, scented lotions, food packaging and even synthetic leathers are a type of chemical called phthalates. Most people in the United States are exposed to phthalates, and levels tend to be higher in women than men.
A new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives examines whether there is a connection between phthalates and diabetes in women. Researchers did find an association but did not prove that the chemicals cause diabetes.
Researchers found that the risk of having diabetes was twice as high in women with the highest levels of certain phthalates, compared with women with the lowest levels. Looking at the data a different way, there would be about 40 extra diabetes cases per 1,000 women when women with high levels are compared to women with low levels.
July 9th, 2012
05:36 PM ET
You've got a sugar craving but don't want to put on more pounds, so you turn to alternative sweeteners. Is that a good move?
A joint scientific statement from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association reveals that while non-nutritive sweeteners can be useful for limiting carbohydrates and limiting added sugars in the diet, the existing scientific evidence is inconclusive about whether this strategy works well in the long run for cutting calories, reducing dietary sugar and losing weight.
The non-nutritive sweeteners in the analysis include both artificial sweeteners and stevia, which is marketed as a natural sweetener. Because the study was not looking at the safety of sweeteners, they chose products that were regarded as generally safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The products include aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), acesulfame-K (Sweet One), saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low), sucralose (Splenda), Neotame, and stevia (Truvia, PureVia, Sweet Leaf).
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.