Researchers at Harvard have uncovered a promising new sign in the battle against Type 1 Diabetes. A Tuberculosis vaccine, which has been in use for over 90 years, has seemingly reversed the disease in some patients. The vaccine, known as bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), acts as a stimulant to a protein which then kills the harmful insulin attacking cells. Researchers noted that two out of three patients who were given BCG showed “increases in dead insulin-autoreactive T cells”, which signals that the drug not only removed the harmful cells, but effectively killed them off. The researchers are currently looking for funding for further research, which they say should provide more results in 3-5 years. Over 25 million Americans suffer from Diabetes, and if further studies show that BDG could be successfully disseminated, this particular study can prove to be a vital first step in eradicating a disease which in 2007 cost Americans $174 billion. Although it is too early to tell weather or not this can fully replace insulin injection, it is a definite step in the right direction in the fight against Diabetes.
Another study, also published by Harvard researchers, shows that adults who lift weights for 30 minutes a day, five times a week reduce their chances of getting Type 2 Diabetes by 34%, and when coupled with aerobic exercise, the risk is cut by 59%. The researchers looked at 32,002 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study which was from 1990 to 2008. After careful analysis of the facts and figures, they concluded that weight training can, independent of aerobic exercise, lower the risk of attaining Type 2 Diabetes significantly. In another study, published in the same journal on the same day, a team of German researcher’s found that higher levels of physical activity in individuals with Diabetes are associated with lower mortality risk. Although the facts that working out leads to lower risk of attaining Diabetes, and lower risk of mortality in patients with Diabetes do not come as a surprise, both these studies truly highlight the benefits of leading an active lifestyle.
All in all, it has been a busy few days for those interested in the advancing science behind Diabetes. Three very promising studies that could enlighten the way we think about, and treat Diabetes are out in the open and ready to be explored further. It is estimated that over 345 million people worldwide suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, and these studies should beget hope (and a gym membership!) to every single one of them.
To read further about the treatment against Type 1 Diabetes with BCG click here
To read further about the benefits of weight training, and the associated risk of Type 2 Diabetes click here
To read further about lower mortality risk in patients with Type 2 Diabetes who exercise click here