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Diabetes drug may reduce deterioration of motor skills

Diabetes News

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Research suggests that a drug used to treat diabetes could be repurposed for early-stage Parkinson’s. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
  • In a study of people with early-stage Parkinson’s disease, a GLP-1 receptor agonist showed promising results in reducing impaired motor skills associated with Parkinson’s.
  • Lixisenatid — commonly used to treat diabetes — was given to half of the cohort for a year, and their motor skills deterioration showed almost no progression compared with the people who received a placebo.
  • Experts say the results of the study are promising but warrant further long-term research with larger groups.

Scientists have found that a drug commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes can help reduce the development of motor skills deterioration in people with early-stage Parkinson’s, according to the findings of a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study, which was randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled, followed 156 participants in France whose diagnosis of Parkinson’s had been within the last three years, were on a stable regime of medication to treat symptoms, and who did not yet have marked decline in motor skills. The participants were either given lixisenatide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist that is used to treat diabetes or a placebo.

After 12 months, the 78 people who had been given lixisenatide showed virtually no further deterioration of motor skills that is commonly seen with Parkinson’s disease, while those who were given a placebo saw a worsening of those symptoms. Nearly half of the group who took lixisenatide reported nausea and 13% experienced vomiting.

Robert Gabbay, MD, PhD, chief scientific and medical officer at the American Diabetes Association, told Medical News Today that while GLP-1 receptors are a relatively new field, the results of the study were promising.

“It is a fascinating study that is proof of concept that this class of medications may have some protective effect and be of advantage to someday treat Parkinson’s. It will be interesting to see if the results hold true for other newer GLP-1 agents like Ozempic/Wegovy and Zepbound,” Gabbay said.

Parkinson’s is a disorder characterized by significant neurological decline that can manifest in tremors, motor control problems, and dementia. There is no known cause, but it is associated with a lack of dopamine in the brain. It is the second most common neurological disease after Alzheimer’s in the U.S., and it is believed that at least 500,000 adults in the U.S. have it.

Daniel Truong, MD, neurologist and medical director of the Truong Neuroscience Institute at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, told MNT that links between Parkinson’s and diabetes hinge on several common threads between the disorders:

  • insulin resistance and glucose dysregulation
  • inflammation and oxidative stress
  • dysfunction of mitochondria
  • alpha-synuclein pathology
  • shared genetic risk factors

“There is ongoing research exploring the potential links between diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Several studies have suggested that individuals with diabetes may have a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, and vice versa,” Truong said.

“Chronic low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress are common features of both diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Research suggests that inflammatory processes in the brain may play a role in the progression of Parkinson’s disease, and there is evidence linking inflammation to insulin resistance in diabetes.”
— Daniel Truong, MD

“Studies have shown that mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction in diabetes, while mitochondrial impairment is also a key feature of dopaminergic neuron degeneration in Parkinson’s disease,” Truong explained.

“Emerging evidence suggests that alpha-synuclein pathology may also be present in peripheral tissues, including pancreatic beta cells in individuals with diabetes. Further research could explore the role of alpha-synuclein aggregation in diabetes-related complications and its potential link to Parkinson’s disease,” he added.

GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonists are part of a treatment regimen for people with type 2 diabetes. They can help reproduce or enhance the effects of a naturally occurring gut hormone that assists in the control of blood sugar levels, and they can also reduce appetite by working on brain hunger centers; this is one of the reasons drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy have been associated with weight loss.

Truong said that a drug like lixisenatide has neuroprotective effects, which would clearly provide some assistance for people with a neurological disorder like Parkinson’s. But he also pointed out how common traits in both diabetes and Parkinson’s can provide some insight into GLP-1 receptor agonists as a way to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms.

“There is emerging evidence suggesting shared pathophysiological mechanisms between diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. For example, insulin resistance and impaired glucose metabolism have been implicated in both conditions. Therefore, drugs that target these mechanisms, such as GLP-1 RAs, might have beneficial effects in both diseases.”
— Daniel Truong, MD

“In some studies, the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease was lower among patients with diabetes who were treated with glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, which increase GLP-1 levels, than among patients who received other diabetes medications,” Truong said.

Truong said that the study’s limitations warrant further research to establish several aspects of long-term treatment of Parkinson’s with GLP-1 receptor agonists: dose optimization, combination therapies, safety and tolerability, and effects on the non-motor symptoms.

“Parkinson’s disease is associated with a wide range of non-motor symptoms, including cognitive impairment, autonomic dysfunction, and psychiatric symptoms. Future studies should investigate whether lixisenatide has beneficial effects on non-motor symptoms in addition to motor symptoms,” he said.

“Although the study suggested a potential neuroprotective effect of lixisenatide, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Further research is needed to elucidate the specific neuroprotective mechanisms of lixisenatide in Parkinson’s disease, including its effects on inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial function, and alpha-synuclein pathology,” he explained.

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Len Rome’s Local Health: Diabetes drugs can reduce heart issues

Diabetes News

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(WYTV)- A drug we use to treat diabetes could soon have another use.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found it may also be able to help reduce the risk of heart trouble in those who are not diabetic.


Could patients who are overweight or obese who don’t have diabetes find a benefit in this drug called semaglutide? Yes.

We know it worked in those with diabetes, able to reduce the risk for cardiovascular events by about 20%. The results are promising and could pave the way for future treatments.

“So, this marks the first intervention, either a lifestyle or a pharmacologic intervention, that’s ever been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients who are overweight and obese but don’t have diabetes,” said Dr. Michael Lincoff of the Cleveland Clinic.

The diabetic drug seems to work best in adults who are 45 and older, considered overweight or obese, not diabetic, and who have previously had a cardiovascular event.

The drug is available now but the Food and Drug Administration still has to review it for this extra use.

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Jeera or cumin helps reduce blood sugar. So have it roasted, whole or powdered

Diabetes News

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Cumin seeds, also known as jeera, are widely used to temper food and enhance its flavour in a variety of preparations. These dried seeds are of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. They have numerous health benefits and are commonly used in Asian households to fight off stomach woes, soothe the digestive tract, relieve nausea, bloating and constipation. In fact, they are routinely used for digestive efficiency and health but cumin seeds are also used as an adjuvant therapy along with oral medication in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Some studies have found that cumin seeds can help regulate fasting blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. This may be due to the presence of certain compounds in cumin seeds, such as cumin aldehyde, which have been shown to have anti-diabetic effects. The blood glucose lowering potential of cumin is also attributed to the presence of thymoquinone, an active chemical component that protects the B-cells of the pancreas from oxidative stress. It helps stimulate the insulin production in the body, which can help to keep the blood sugar levels in check.

Consuming cumin either as whole seeds or in the form of ground powder may help in managing blood sugars in diabetics. It not only lowers blood glucose levels but also helps maintain a healthy body weight. It may help lower levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels. Cumin seeds have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for reducing the risk of complications associated with diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease. These are also a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect against cell damage and may be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes, who are at increased risk of oxidative stress.

While there may be some potential benefits of cumin seeds for people with diabetes, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between cumin seeds and diabetes. However, a string of studies over decades has established a definite correlation. Way back in 1998, an eight week dietary regimen containing cumin powder in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats was found to be remarkably beneficial, as indicated by reduction in hyperglycemia. This was also accompanied by improvement in body weights of diabetic animals. Dietary cumin countered other metabolic alterations as revealed by lowered blood urea level and reduced excretions of urea and creatinine by diabetic animals.

Seeds of Nigella sativa (black cumin/kalonji) were found to have anti-diabetic properties in a study conducted in 2011. Thymoquinone (TQ), a volatile oil, is one of its active constituents but antidiabetic activity has also been shown by its aqueous extract and defatted extract. The study said, “N. sativa may be beneficial in diabetic individuals and those with glucose intolerance as it reduces appetite, glucose absorption in intestine, hepatic gluconeogenesis, blood glucose level, cholesterol, triglycerides, body weight and simulates glucose induced secretion of insulin from beta-cells in pancreas; improves glucose tolerance….yet it has not shown significant adverse effects and has very low toxicity. In streptozotocin (STZ) induced diabetic rats it causes gradual partial regeneration of pancreatic beta-cells, increases the lowered serum insulin concentrations and decreases the elevated serum glucose.”

According to a study to evaluate the effect of 50 and 100 mg doses of green cumin essential oil on glycaemic and inflammatory indices in patients with Type 2 diabetes, it was established how administering cuminum cyminum supplement (or cumin) in such patients could decrease the serum levels of insulin, fasting blood sugar and glycosylated haemoglobin. In addition, it was found to control the complications of Type 2 diabetes in these patients.

In another study, which was published in ‘Nutrition and Metabolism,’ cumin not only lowered blood glucose levels but helped people maintain a healthy body weight, which is one of the potential causes of diabetes in the first place.

In a 2018 study, crude ethanol extract of cumin seeds was found to be very helpful in the improvement of plasma lipid profile as one of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and heart failure in diabetic patients.

That being said, there are several ways to incorporate cumin seeds into your diet. Here are a few ideas:

1. Sprinkle cumin seeds on roasted vegetables or grilled meats for added flavour and nutrition.
2. Use cumin seeds in home-made spice blends for soups, stews, and other dishes.
3. Brew cumin seed tea by boiling a teaspoon of cumin seeds in a cup of water for 5-10 minutes.
4. Mix ground cumin seeds into salad dressings, dips, or sauces.
5. Add cumin seeds to lentil or bean dishes to enhance the flavour and nutrition.
6. You can add roasted jeera seeds to your food or grind it into a powder and sprinkle it over salads, yogurt, buttermilk and cut fruits.
7. One can simply chew on 1 tsp of roasted jeera after meals every day.

A word of caution, consult your diabetologist and dietitian about the amount of supplement to be taken should you already be on medication to control blood sugar.

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First published on: 09-05-2023 at 10:00 IST

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Tips to Help a Child With Diabetes

Tips

Do you have a child with diabetes? As a parent, it is your responsibility to help your child learn how to deal with their condition. Go over this article for some useful tips.

Prepare healthy meals for your child and pack some snack for them. Your child should not eat any kind of food that contains a high amount of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Foods rich in fat, preservatives, sodium and other unhealthy ingredients should be avoided to. You need to design an entirely new diet for your child; make sure they eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fibers and drink plenty of water.

Encourage your child to exercise. If your child is overweight, helping them get in shape is a priority. You could play sports together or find another activity they enjoy; think about taking them to a dance class, the swimming pool or simply going for walks. Your child does not need to work out or follow a fitness program. Being active should be enough.

Teach your child how to protect their feet and develop an excellent oral hygiene. Diabetes increases the risks of developing gum disease and can cause infections to spread very quickly. Make sure your child always wears protective footwear and knows how to keep their toenails clean. Teach them to brush their teeth and use floss every day. Your child should not be scared of developing a complication, but they should be aware that they are at risk for health issues because of their diabetes.

Your child needs to learn about nutrition. Take them grocery shopping with you and teach them to recognize healthy foods from bad nutritional choices. Your child needs to know about the five food groups and have a good idea of which foods are rich in whole grains, fibers and sugar. You could also prepare food with your child. Choose simple recipes they will be able to remember and prepare again by themselves. Consider going to a cooking class together if you do not feel confident about your own cooking skills.

You need to give your child more responsibilities so they get into the habit of managing their diabetes by themselves. Show them how to use their test stripes and monitor and let them check their sugar level by themselves. You could for instance get them a watch on which you can set up an alarm to remind them to check their sugar level.

Let your child prepare their meals and snacks too, but do not hesitate to double check to make sure they picked healthy foods. Give your child more responsibilities as they get older. They should be able to manage their diabetes alone by the time they are teenagers. Be available and offer to help if they need you.

These tips will help you provide your child with the guidance they need to take control of their condition. Do your best to help them and encourage them to become independent at the same time.

Work to Prevent Diabetes

Prevention

Although diabetes is a very common disease, it is actually preventable in most people. Even if you’re genetically predisposed diabetes, living a healthy lifestyle should help you to avoid contracting it. Generally, as long as you haven’t contracted childhood diabetes, you should be able to avoid adult onset diabetes, but it does take some hard work.

With a fast food restaurant on every corner and a new box of cheap treats on the grocery store shelves every week, it takes a lot of willpower and control to not gain weight. On top of that, most of us live busier lifestyles that really leave no time for exercising. But if you want to avoid diabetes, you have to make time to exercise properly, and you have to eat healthy items. Put down that garbage and eat healthier food, and make sure you’re always staying active.

The more physically active you are, the better your body is able to metabolize sugars. Physical activity will increase your body’s ability to make its own insulin, and this is going to help you keep balanced levels of blood glucose. You don’t have to start training to become Mr. Universe; you just have to remain active and exercise regularly. You’ll look better, feel better, and you can avoid contracting diabetes.

If you’re at an annual checkup and your doctor notices that your blood sugar is too high, you may be prescribed some type of medicine to help you level out. This type of medicine is essentially helping your body produce insulin, while still allowing your body to promote its own natural insulin. And you should also be aware that some medications you take, like steroids, can increase your blood glucose levels.

If you’re genetically predisposed to contracting diabetes, this is something you should find out about. Talk to different members of your family to find out if diabetes runs along the tree. If it does, this means your body is more likely to stop producing its own insulin. It doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to contract diabetes; it just means you’ll have to work a little harder in order not to. Stay away from the treats and exercise more.

The average person is always dealing with minor ailments. Over time, however, things you think are minor could end up being major. This goes beyond only diabetes; you should be visiting your doctor at least once a year to see if there’s anything you need to be aware of or alarmed about. Having yearly checkups may just save your life.

No matter if you’re trying to stop smoking, lose weight, or to get in better shape, having a buddy alongside you for the ride just makes it a lot easier. Going to the gym with someone and eating healthy food with someone else makes the process easier. You don’t have to do things by yourself. Find someone to go out on the journey with you.

Diabetes is usually preventable, especially if you’re serious about staying in great shape. You may still end up unlucky here, but it’s always better to stay in great shape.