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Biotech Science

Researchers May Have Found Cause of Type 2 Diabetes 181

Posted by Zonk
from the good-start dept.
ozmanjusri writes "Scientists at Sydney's Garvan Institute have identified an enzyme called PKCepsilon as the active agent that blocks the production of insulin in diabetics. Insulin injections and implants try to control levels but do not address the reasons why insulin production is failing. This discovery may allow pharmaceutical companies to develop a drug to block the enzyme, allowing cells in the pancreas to function normally, though the team's leader, Trevor Biden, says 'What we've identified is a target that we can now latch onto to get therapy, but the journey from target to tablet of course is a long one ... It's probably going to take another 10 years at least to get something that's effective in humans.'"
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Researchers May Have Found Cause of Type 2 Diabetes

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  • Nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rbochan (827946) on Friday October 05, 2007 @09:31AM (#20866795) Homepage

    ...This discovery may allow pharmaceutical companies to develop a drug to block the enzyme, allowing cells in the pancreas to function normally...

    Yes, but would they actually do that? There's a hell of a lot more money to be made by treating the symptoms, rather than curing the disease.

    • Re:Nice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moosehooey (953907) on Friday October 05, 2007 @09:39AM (#20866883)
      This probably would be a treatment. If you stop blocking the enzyme, it probably comes back.

      Also, it would be a new drug that could be patented, as opposed to insulin, which is no longer patented (if it ever was).
      • http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/printerfriendlynews.php?newsid=84724 [medicalnewstoday.com]
        What about the enzyme mentioned in this article?

        Quoting:

        Scientists at the Medical Research Council have made a discovery that could pave the way for better treatments of type II diabetes. The teams at two MRC institutes (the National Institute for Medical Research and the Clinical Sciences Centre) have determined the structure of the enzyme that regulates cellular energy levels.

        The enzyme the scientists have been studying is called

      • by pokerdad (1124121)

        as opposed to insulin, which is no longer patented (if it ever was).

        My understanding is that Banting [wikipedia.org] refused large sums of money to buy the patent off of him, fearing that allowing one company to hold the patent would result in gouging and limit the people helped by it; instead he sold it to the University of Toronto for one dollar. So yes it was patented, but the holder of the patent only used it to make sure that no one company controlled its production.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by techpawn (969834)
      A treatment means that you can prolong it. At least street dealers give you the first one for free... Wait, don't drug reps give doctors offices free samples to hand their patients?

      Maybe I'm just cynical that the medication to keep me aloft costs 2k a month so the prospect of a cure for my illness won't come till after that gravy train derails...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by djasbestos (1035410)
        All the more reason to nationalize pharmaceuticals, or at the very least reform the drug patent system.
      • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:14PM (#20869069) Homepage Journal

        A treatment means that you can prolong it.
        A cure for the price of two years' treatment means you can keep your competitor from selling two decades of treatment.
        • by j-pimp (177072)

          A treatment means that you can prolong it.

          A cure for the price of two years' treatment means you can keep your competitor from selling two decades of treatment.

          Nobody cares if their competitor looses two year worth of profits unless it benefits them. If I sell a million dollars worth of insulin a year and you sell a billion, I will market this cure if it has the potential to make me 1.1 million a year. I don't give a crap about you loosing a billion dollars a year, unless I think that will allow me to buy you out. Maybe I could use this as a bargaining tool, I'll license you the drug if you license me the cancer drug. However, no one cares about "hurting" the c

    • by Shivetya (243324) on Friday October 05, 2007 @09:53AM (#20867023) Homepage Journal
      You do realize that there is a lot of money to be made in preventive medicines of which this would be one. I doubt that they could cure it but removing the need for insulin would be a major benefit to both consumer and drug companies. My mom receives her insulin via overnight shipment - the packaging weighs many multiples compared to what was shipped. If its delivered improperly someone else eats the cost... meaning you and me. If the pharms could elminate medicines that require special handling it saves them money too.

      Besides, giving a choice between paying for insulin, needles, blood test kits, or just a pill I know which I would take. I'd also be thankful someone is making it then going all tinfoil over their supposed real goals of keeping me sick - sick people die and don't buy more drugs - get over that
      • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday October 05, 2007 @10:21AM (#20867315) Journal
        Isn't type 2 diabetes [wikipedia.org] basically dietary related (adult onset) and controled by monitoring blood sugar while type 1 [wikipedia.org] is the permanent loss of pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin, which I guess is what your mom has? If so then this research wouldn't help people like your mom since they have no insulin in the first place.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by redcaboodle (622288)

          Isn't type 2 diabetes [wikipedia.org] basically dietary related (adult onset) and controled by monitoring blood sugar while type 1 [wikipedia.org] is the permanent loss of pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin, which I guess is what your mom has? If so then this research wouldn't help people like your mom since they have no insulin in the first place.

          This is the current received wisdom. The article mentions research leading another way. Basically it says you need fat + a certain enzyme to develop Diabetes Type 2. This may or not be true, but it's certainly worth investigating.

          From the FA

          In their study, the researchers used genetically modified mice to observe the link between an oversupply of fat and type 2 diabetes.
          They found mice without the enzyme did not develop diabetes, despite gaining weight on a high-fat diet.

          That would at least explain why some people can be as fat as they like without ever developing Diabetes 2 and why Diabetes 2 seems to run in families.

        • Type II diabetes can be caused by many things. Mine was possibly caused by Agent Orange. It's controlled by diet, blood sugar monitoring and oral medicines, such as Glypizide and Metformin. Part of Type II is insulin resistance, meaning that your cells don't react as well as they should to whatever insulin is present and causing your body to make more isn't the only, or even best answer. Better is something that increases your body's reaction to the insulin they have, and drugs such as Metformin already
    • Re:Nice (Score:4, Insightful)

      by binaryspiral (784263) on Friday October 05, 2007 @09:56AM (#20867069)
      Yes, but would they actually do that? There's a hell of a lot more money to be made by treating the symptoms, rather than curing the disease.

      Sure they would.

      The pharmaco would patent the cure and price it at about 50-70% the average cost of lifelong diabetes care today so the insurance companies would more likely pay for it.

      With obesity rates climbing like they are today, there will be no lack of profit.
    • Insulin's a generic drug. It's not the most terribly profitable thing to manufacture and sell, especially given the relatively static demand for it.

      In the pharmaceutical industry, margins on generic drugs tend to be razor-thin simply due to the laws of economics. Insulin is insulin -- assuming that there's no industry collusion, if one vendor lowers their price, the entire market will flock to that vendor, because his product is identical.

      This results in the price bottoming out somewhere just above the ma
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by VanessaE (970834)
        Sorry, you're just wrong here. First of all, not all insulins are available in generic. Second of all, there are several different types of insulin, each with it's own benefits and cautions. Because some types have a different response curve than others, or different side effects, you can't always replace one with another. "Insulin is insulin" is definitely not the truth.

        My husband used to take your basic 70/30 mix (generic). In order to improve his sugar control, his doctor eventually switched him

      • by Ksisanth (915235)
        In addition to what the OP said, while the patent on Humulin expired in 2001 (the Novolin patent expired in 2002, I think), the regulatory hurdles for biogenerics have been conveniently increased to keep others out of the market, at least in the US. The ANDA process for FDA approval of generics doesn't apply to biogenerics, and the biotechs have been lobbying to make sure that they will have to go through lengthy, costly testing to get that approval. Last I checked, Congress hadn't yet even introduced the
    • Doctors != Evil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cedric Tsui (890887) on Friday October 05, 2007 @11:58AM (#20868775)
      Ok. So Doctors are people too. People with consciences. If a Doctor comes up with a promising cure to Diabetes, there is no corporate ethos in the world that will stop him from developing it.

      One of my professors is a radiologist. One day at a banquet, he was seated next to a woman who was DEAD certain that there was a very simple cure to cancer that had already been discovered and that people like him were keeping it hidden so that they could make boatloads of money. After holding his tongue for half an hour, he replied "My mother died of Cancer."
    • Of course, as soon as your competitor develops a cure, you won't make any more money treating the disease and you won't make anything off of curing it either. See, the thing you have to realize is that pharmaceutical companies is plural. That means there are more than one of them. The first one to develop a cure makes money off of it, the rest stop making money off of treatments for the symptoms. There is more money to be made as the only one with the cure than there is as one of many treating symptoms.
    • Not for the company that comes up with the cure, or a vastly better treatment. The existing treatments are all tied down with numerous patents, as are the glucometers. The diabetes associations have a lot of older, powerful people with Type 2 diabetes who will take anyone caught doing that kind of obstruction and have their guts for garters.
    • Yes, but would they actually do that? There's a hell of a lot more money to be made by treating the symptoms, rather than curing the disease.

      Not for long.

      Supposing that this could cure the disease outright; you patent the drug so that no others could produce it. You sit on the patent until it expires. It becomes free game for all and you haven't made a dime from all of your R&D. Now all your competitors get to walk the golden brick road without lifting a finger or throwing a royalty your way.

      What a
  • "We need 5L of patent applications, stat! Can you imagine the dough we'll make when we lock up this discovery so that no one else can cure diabetes but us?"
    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOsPam.hotmail.com> on Friday October 05, 2007 @10:07AM (#20867173) Journal
      Can you imagine the dough we'll make when we lock up this discovery so that no one else can cure diabetes but us?

      The Garvan Institute is a non-profit organisation. They do patent discoveries, but any income earned is used to fund other research projects.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by paulpach (798828)

      "We need 5L of patent applications, stat! Can you imagine the dough we'll make when we lock up this discovery so that no one else can cure diabetes but us?"

      The choices are:

      1. Current patent system: Someone discovers this, protects it with patents, and locks it up for a few years
      2. No patents for medical advances: Why would anybody spend any money on research if someone can come along and reproduce the formula? Philanthropy money is very limited. You really need the big capitalist bucks to back research or nothing significant will ever be discovered. You need to provide some sort of economic incentive if you want people to invest in research, and that is
      • Just like the X-Prize: A bounty system.

        Set up an HHS/CDC commission to define for any disease a set of benchmarks with a reward then an overall payout for any company that can meet the stated goal of curing the disease. Allow seed money grants from charitable non-profits to launch the research projects, with some restrictions such as the company must prove they are capable of doing the research and have a sound plan. To be eligible for the payout, the researchers must publish all research data, including
  • Your body constantly works to maintain equilibrium of all functions. The is a reason Type 2 diabetes almost exclusively occurs in gluttonous people, and is virtually unknown in countries where food is comparatively expensive and scarce. This is because after years of consistent overeating, your body begins to believe that elevated levels of blood sugar is "normal" and there is no need to produce more insulin. This is no different than people who drugs or alcohol. Using drugs or alcohol long term results
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ypps (1106881)
      Let me be the first to inform you that the number of countries where food is expensive and scarce has declined to a point where you can almost count them on the fingers of your two hands. Over-eating is a major problem in the poor world. Poor people are more likely to have serious problems, which means that they are more likely to eat for comfort. Also, poor people are more likely to have less knowledge about good nutrition.

      Diabetes is on its way to becoming a poor man's disease. A cheap medicine against di
    • by CorporalKlinger (871715) on Friday October 05, 2007 @10:13AM (#20867243)
      Unfortunately, you've got this wrong. Type II Diabetes is a failure of equilibrium functionality, not a case of hyperactivity of equilibrium mechanisms in the body. The body works to maintain equilibrium by releasing insulin following consumption of a meal, which in turn tells the cells of the body (primarily skeletal muscle cells) to take up glucose from the bloodstream. Type II diabetes, at its core, is a syndrome of insulin resistance, not a syndrome in insulin insufficiency. The skeletal muscle cells become less attentive to insulin signalling and refuse to take up glucose from the bloodstream in response to normal insulin levels within the body. The pancreas attempts to compensate by up-regulating the insulin thermostat, producing more and more insulin to try to get the muscles to respond by taking up the glucose. Glucose, if not taken up rapidly by the body's cells, can be harmful as it results in glycosylation of proteins all over the body (including in hemoglobin, in the form of HbA1C, which is a useful marker for long-term diabetes management analysis). The muscles become less willing to respond to the increased doses of insulin produced by the pancreas. Eventually, if not managed carefully, the pancreas may "burn itself out" - producing sub-normal levels of insulin, causing a type II diabetic to become insulin-injection dependent.
       
      This research is incredibly interesting since it may reverse the burn-out syndrome and alleviate the need for poorly managed type II diabetics to inject insulin. It will not, however, reverse the insulin resistance present in insulin-sensitive cells within the body.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Scubaraf (1146565)
        Klinger you're right on the ball. I logged in to say exactly what you did. Type II diabetes is a failure of insulin signalling at the target tissues (liver, fat, muscle). Some people, particularly those exposed to high levels of insulin over a prolonged period (think fat or refined sugar eaters), downregulate the way their tissues respond to insulin. This means they are less effective at clearing glucose from the blood. To compensate for the elevated glucose levels, the pancreas secretes more insulin. At s
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HikingStick (878216)
        For those looking for the Cliff's Notes version of the parent:

        The article got the types of diabetes wrong. Type 2 diabetes means the body can't use the insulin it has, not that it doesn't produce enough. For those who have Type 2 diabetes a long time, they may eventually need to inject insulin, and this discovery could prevent that from becoming necessray.

        [Summarized by a Type 2]
        • Sorry, I know I can be verbose sometimes. You got the summary right on the ball. :-) Thanks HitchingStick.
          • Wow, thanks for the compliment. I, too, tend to get very verbose--it can be a struggle to be concise when conveying my own thoughts, but it always is easier to summarize the thoughts of others.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nbauman (624611)
        That's right. My understanding is that diabetes type II is not a problem of the pancreas producing too little insulin, but of the muscle cells and fat cells not responding to insulin properly. But that's not what the investigators are saying. http://www.garvan.org.au/news-events/news/solving-a-critical-part-of-the-insulin-puzzle.html [garvan.org.au]

        Interestingly, the journal Cell Metabolism http://www.cellmetabolism.org/ [cellmetabolism.org] which published the Australian paper http://www.cellmetabolism.org/content/article/abstract?uid=PIIS155 [cellmetabolism.org]
        • by nbauman (624611)
          A doctor friend of mine just called me to talk about computers, so I asked him about this.

          He said that in pre-diabetes, you have insulin resistance.

          Finally in diabetes, the pancreas begins to fail, and insulin declines.

          They treat diabetes with drugs to stimulate the pancreas, and finally with injected insulin.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      "The is a reason Type 2 diabetes almost exclusively occurs in gluttonous people"
      Notice you said ALMOST.
      BTW almost exclusively is an oxymoron.
      It is exclusive or it isn't
      Type 2 diabetes is a genetic predisposition. There is a woman at my office that eats like a pig and just never gains weight. She is by all deffion gluttonous but will never get type 2 diabetes. That is a gentleman in my office that weighs almost 400 lbs and doesn't have type II. I do have type II and yes I do have to work at keeping my weight
      • It isn't just a genetic predisposition. There is a proven link between obesity and type 2. It may simply be a matter of body mass or fat cell signals or both. That said some people do have it in their families. My grandfather died of it, my mother has it (skinny, eats like a bird), and my brother has it (athletic). Fortunately I had a diabetes specialist as a primary physician who made sure I was tested and never saw signs of it so I think I dodged the genetic bullet.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by LWATCDR (28044)
          "It isn't just a genetic predisposition. There is a proven link between obesity and type 2. "
          Did you think that you have the link backwards?
          Yes people that get type 2 do often have trouble with weight. Ever think that the genetic predisposition might just cause that problem with it also contributes to that tendency to be over weight? BTW it isn't just being over weight. It is a specific body type that get is. People that tend to put on weight all over don't seem to get type 2. People that put weight on arou
    • by Frankie70 (803801) on Friday October 05, 2007 @10:33AM (#20867525)

      This is because after years of consistent overeating, your body begins to believe that elevated levels of blood sugar is "normal" and there is no need to produce more insulin.


      This isn't true.
      There are 2 components to type 2 diabetes
      1) Insulin Resistance - Body isn't able to use the insulin produced efficiently.
      2) Insulin Production - Body isn't able to produce enough insulin.

      Here is the typical progression of type 2 diabetes.

      For a normal person, when he eats carbohydrates, his blood sugar goes up. In response,
      the pancreas produces insulin. The insulin pushes the blood sugar into the cells & the blood
      sugar goes down.

      When a person has insulin resistance, his pancreas produces insulin, but this insulin isn't
      used efficiently. The insulin isn't able to push all the sugar into the cells. Hence the blood
      sugar level doesn't go down immediatelly. Hence all the body parts are soaked in sugar which
      is harmful to the organs. The pancreas is also an organ. The pancreas is soaked in sugar. This
      causes insulin producing cells in the pancreas to die. This is a cyclic process i.e. because some
      insulin producing cells die, the pancreases produces less insulin - this in turn causes blood
      sugar to rise even more, which in turn causes more damage to the pancreas. This process keeps
      continuing & finally when the pancreas has lost more than 50% of it's insulin producing cells,
      blood sugar starts going out of control & he gets diabetes.

      Typically, people who get type 2 diabetes are people who have the gene for
      Insulin Resistance.

      There are many people how much ever they eat, they don't get diabetes, or they
      get it at a very advance age. Excess weight increases Insulin Resistance, but is
      not the the cause of it.

      A person with IR can delay or avoid diabetes for a long time by eating less, but
      eating alone isn't the cause of type 2 diabetes.
      • by bughunter (10093)
        As a type 2 diabetic (without mod points today) who has eaten healthy (can has occasional cheezburger), I profusely thank you for your insightful and informative post. I came in here to ask a technical question about the article and was really disappointed to find all the stereotype-driven hate and disgust dominating the higher rated comments... From a (supposedly intelligent) crowd that prides itself on its four major food groups of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and salt. The irony is not funny, just sad...
        • Because insulin resistance alone doesn't cause type 2 diabetes. Your beta cells need to fail to produce enough insulin to overcome the resistance for it to become diabetes.

          Fixing the production loss means you go back to being insulin resistant "non-diabetic" (as far as sugar levels go, once diabetic, always so, at least by current definitions).

          Yeah you still have the insulin resistance, which isn't good, but you'd be way better off.

          Fixing the insulin resistance would be even better, but perhaps if that is a
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DiannaoChong (1167929) on Friday October 05, 2007 @09:34AM (#20866831)
    Seems like whenever the thought of "a Cure" or extremely important treatment comes up, its always 10 years away. When I first got type 1 diabetes they estimated that a cure would be ready in 10 years (This is 10 years ago), and my doctor also promptly told me that that is what they had said 10 years earlier. Every year now or so if I bother to try and keep up on whats new with diabetes, all I see is "d00dz 10 years till we got us a cure!". Diabetes, keeping funding and grants in pockets of people 10 years at a time, for the past 40 years.
  • Huh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Friday October 05, 2007 @09:35AM (#20866847) Journal
    I guess "being overweight and unhealthy" wasn't scientific enough.

    On the one hand, I always like to see things cured. On the other hand, my fear of type II diabetes is one of those things that gets my ass out of bed in the morning, makes me walk to lunch, makes me have an apple instead of a twinky.

    It like if they came up with a wonder pill that fixed all the bad cardiovascular problems you get from eating all the wrong stuff, a diet pill that keeps you from gaining any weight, and a cure for type II diabetes...I'm just not sure that would really be good for anyone. You should ahve to have some consequences.

    I understand that there are those who get Type II through no fault of their own, and this makes me happy for them...But they're the minority, and I don't have as much sympathy for the rest.
    • You didn't mention if you have to use testing strips. I think the only people benefitting from Diabetes are the drug companies. They give away the meters for free and price gouge the testing strips. I can't be convinced that the cost to develop, manufacture and test these strips is anywhere near what they cost.

      I don't disagree with making a profit, but they're doing it on the backs of people with a -so far- incurable disease and because most can't afford strips long term, skip or reuse strips which can lead
    • Finally, a medical cure for self discipline! Is there a pill I can take that'll give me a trust fund so I don't have to work too?
    • by jejones (115979)
      Ah, the same way bluenoses want to prevent girls from getting vaccinated against HPV, so that, by golly, sex will have consequences!
      • Vaccinations are out of control these days; it's not that they're available, it's that they're required, and for fricking EVERYTHING.

        When I was young, the Hepatitis-B vaccine was optional...you got it before you went to college, if you felt like you needed it. Now they're trying to run the whole course of hep B AND A on kids before they're 18 months old. The chicken pox vaccine, which DOESN'T provide a lifetime immunity is required for daycares and preschools...Having had chicken pox when I was 15, rather t
    • I know you're being unscientific, but I'd at least like some sources for your statements about unhealthy and overweight.

      Because, you know, correlation does not always imply causation. Did it ever occur to you that diabetes might cause the weight gain, rather than the other way around? I know of several people who have developed diabetes in spite of the fact that their jobs involved rigorous physical activity, and in spite of the fact that they ate diets no different from the rest of the general popula

      • I also know of a recent heart attack victim - at 58, who had eaten essentially a vegetarian diet for 15 years prior to the attack.

        Don't buy into the lie. That's the lie where vegetarian = healthy.

        I've been a vegetarian for about 2/3 of my life. I know plenty of other vegetarians. I'm overweight, many others I know are overweight. Just being a vegetarian by itself doesn't mean anything beyond "I don't eat meat".

        There are a million ways to do the vegetarian diet wrong just like any other diet.

        Am I better
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Roxton (73137)
      Unhealthy lifestyle choices are only really frowned on because they result in poor health. Isn't it perverse to perpetuate that moralistic norm if the poor health consequence goes away? (There are some cases where poor health isn't the only negative consequence, but I'm not referring to those.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Guidii (686867)
      I understand that there are those who get Type II through no fault of their own, and this makes me happy for them...But they're the minority, and I don't have as much sympathy for the rest.

      Yikes!!!

      You're happy for some diabetics, and unsympathetic to the rest?

      Although I really, really, really hope you're just trolling, I suspect you honestly feel this way. This kind of opinion (bias, prejudice) seems to run pretty rampant these days, and it's one of the reasons that I rarely feel comfortable telling

      • I have massively high blood pressure and cholesterol; it's hereditary, mostly...But I could still kick it by exercise and diet. But I don't. Not enough exercise. Had two fat cinnamon rolls for breakfast, instead of the half bowl of horkin fibre chunks I should have had.

        Do you see me crying about the tragedy of my condition? A condition imposed by my own lack of discipline? No.

        If you got type II just through sheer bad luck, you have my sympathy. If you made a bad lifestyle choice, you deal with it. People (l
  • perhaps stop feeding your pancreas so much freaking glucose?

    This is a serious health issue. When you consider that some forms of diabetes and obesity can be classed this way, it is clear to see that several billion people could die of malnutrition this century unless we begin some serious educational effort. Some scientific breakthroughs may save the climate, but your health is yours.

  • The cause is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by svendsen (1029716) on Friday October 05, 2007 @09:41AM (#20866905)
    people eat like shit and don't exercise. That's it. Pretty simple huh? Fiances father got diagnose with type 2 diabetes. Effecting him pretty badly for a year. Decides to eat healthy, drop weight, and exercise. Guess what happened? He is healthy now, no issues. You read tons of studies saying the same thing.

    But that isn't profitable to companies....
    • It's profitable precisely because people aren't willing or aren't able to lose weight to become healthy. Why do you think there are so many overweight/obese people in this country?
      • by rs79 (71822)
        " Why do you think there are so many overweight/obese people in this country? "

        Fructose and starches?

        Just a guess.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hoi Polloi (522990)
      My brother is athletic and in good shape, he just ignored the signs of it (inherited type 2) and ended up needing an emergency heart bypass in his 40s. He sure watches his blood sugar now.
    • The quality of the scientific articles and comments on slashdot are absolutely atrocious lately.

      First of all, the article is factually incorrect on the basics of diabetes. Type 2 (NON insulin-dependent) diabetics do produce adequate levels of insulin! The problem is that adipose (fat) and muscle tissue, for unknown reasons, do NOT increase glucose transport in response, leaving an excess of the glucose in the blood. This effect is called "insulin resistance," because these cells are resistant to the eff

      • by svendsen (1029716)
        No but it means most of T2D is caused by lack of exercise and bad eating. They are always exception to every medical rule. However please note the rise of T2D over the past few decades. Could there be something else causing it and not the poor eating and exercise? Maybe...but as of right now the medical studies (which I have read a lot) say bad food and lack of excercise.

        Does that mean every single person with T2D is fat/lazy of course not, just the high percentage of them. But at least science (an
      • The quality of the scientific articles and comments on slashdot are absolutely atrocious lately. ...failure of the insulin-producing beta cells of the liver.

        Case in point! Beta cells are in pancreas, not the liver!

        (possibly unless you have metastatic pancreatic cancer)
    • by stoicfaux (466273)

      people eat like shit

      After reading the ingredients on a frozen pizza box, I would have to agree. The biggest thing I noticed was that the meat only contained 11% meat... The salt was an insanely high percentage (40% or so?) of the FDA recommended daily allowance. There were several brands of pepperoni pizza that stated that the pepperoni was partially made from chicken.

      And does anyone else consider Domino's Oreo Dessert Pizza to be an abomination against humanity? (Funny commercials though.)

      Needl

      • I'd rank Domino's Oreo Dessert Pizza right up there on the food abomination scale with Kentucky Fried Chicken's "Famous Bowls". I have never had one but they look like bowls of slop and they must be extra special when they have cooled off and congealed.
    • people eat like shit and don't exercise. That's it. Pretty simple huh?

      It's more complex than you make it out to be. By that yardstick, I could also say, AIDS is because "people fuck like shit and don't bother about fidelity/safe sex practices/monogamy. That's it. Pretty simple, huh?" You can substitute Hepatitis B or Chlamydia for AIDS if you want something more prevalent.

      But you can see that applying reductionist principles to diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or even Some Computer Virus doesn't

    • I'm glad your future father-in-law lost weight and is doing well managing his sugar, but you should be aware of one thing: while his symptoms have gone away due to his reduced weight (and the associated fat), he has not been "cured" of diabetes. He still has the underlying factors which, in all likelihood, will reappear again when he is older or when his insulin-resistance increases. I lost 70 pounds after my diagnosis. Now, six years later, my sugar levels are climbing again.

      While obesity is a huge fac
      • by svendsen (1029716)
        Didn't mean to imply he was cured. It is, right now, 100% under control.

        Yes the sugars are a HUGE issue. High Fructose corn syrup is evil in a sweet sweet liquid. Eating health (organic, less refined sugars, etc) is expensive. My fiance's and my food bill went up by 30 bucks a week switching over to Whole foods, eating lots of fruit, non drugged up meat and diary products, etc. We feel a lot better but understand the economic issues with those forced to eat poor quality food.

        That being said t
    • Remember before they invented a cure for ulcers? People with ulcers were blamed for having "too much stress." Then they found out ulcers were caused by virii, end of blame.
    • by julesh (229690)
      people eat like shit and don't exercise. That's it. Pretty simple huh?

      Not really, no. First of all, there's clearly a genetic component, the evidence for this is extremely strong. Also, it effects plenty of people who eat healthy diets. Various theories abound as to types of diet that may be more likely to cause it (high carbohydrate diets being a prominent leader, so everyone who put their effort into cutting fat out of their diet loses), and while overeating is a cause, it isn't necessary.
  • No No No... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LaRoach (968977)
    It's not from being a fat-ass, it's from being a victim of food! The food is leaping off the plate...
  • I found a cure for Type 2 diabetes (Oblig. [voice=Wilford Brimley]Di-a-bee-tus). My aunt had type 2 diabetes for most of her life. Then she started exercising, eating right and lost 120lbs. She hasn't been on the needle for over a year. She still checks her blood sugar regularly just in case.

    What are they trying to do now that they found the cause? Call me insensitive, but if they do find a medicinal cure it would only serve to enable some people to keep living unhealthy lifestyles. I think now that they h
    • by julesh (229690)
      My mother spent a large portion of her life on a 1600kcal/day diet. She worked 6 days per week on a physical job, getting more exercise each day than most of us get in a week. Then she was diagnosed with type II diabetes. Reducing her food intake any more than fractionally was implausible. Increasing her exercise equally. Fortunately, it seems the currently available medication is capable of controlling it reasonably, and her blood sugar levels aren't getting much worse at the moment. Also changing to
  • The insulin metabolic pathway is very old in terms of evolution and very pervasive. Dozens of genes have been identified regulating such. I dont thing there will be single-point cures.
  • In the last couple of days Slashdot has looked horrible. "Reply" buttons are missing (except for this weird floating comment box on the left hand-side of the screen.

    The look of the comments reminded me of edlin or a really bad ncurses setup. Odd blocks of inverted text all over the place and very few actual comments are visible.

    I have been reading Slash for a long time, and I am not a newb; but I can't figure out why it looks so wrong/broken. I'm tempted to use lynx just to read the site.

    I am using Mozil
    • AFAICT, everyone got switched over the to new-style comments system by default. And unchecking the "I am willing to test the new discussion system" box doesn't fix it -- you have to change your preferences. Once that's done, the change seems to stick.

      If any editors are reading this: the new system sucks. I tried to make myself use it for a while, and it seemed like it sucked worse every minute. I mean, I really tried. Please rethink this; it's just a terrible idea, and if it becomes the only way to us
  • This is not the cause of type 2 diabetes. It's just a slightly earlier item in the chain of effects. The cause would explain why type 2 diabetics have more of this enzyme, or why they respond to it differently. I'd be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that when the true cause is discovered, it will be a lifestyle change and not a drug.

    I have several type 2 diabetics in my family and so any drug developed from this discovery could be helpful, but I still feel medical science is a bit off track with this
  • by Theovon (109752) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:44PM (#20869623)
    I'd say that, far more than people realize, health problems can be nailed down to nutritional issues. I don't mean "too much fat" or that sort of thing. People suffer weird symptoms from specific vitamin deficiencies and the like.

    For instance, I know one person who suffered from "hypothyroidism" for a long time and had to take T4 supplements. It turned out that her real problem was an iodine deficiency, that itself was likely caused by being on the birth control pill. Taking high doses of an iodine supplement cleared up the problem very quickly, and her thyroid began functioning properly again.

    I know another patient who was inexplicably ill for many years. After an IgG panel blood test, it was determined that she had a food alergy to casein, the principal protein in milk and other dairy derivatives. This isn't the sort of IgE alergy that causes itching or anaphalaxis, but the IgG kind that takes days to set in, and the symptoms are less severe and can be flu-like. Part of the reason she never considered cutting out dairy was that she is not, in fact, lactose intolerant, so lactase ensyme didn't help. Eliminating dairy entirely solved her problem.

    Just like the preceding case, I have an IgG reaction to soy protein. Imagine trying to avoid soy in the U.S. Soybean oil is the default "vegetable oil," soya lecithin is used as an emusifier in lots of foods, and soy protein isolate (not considered to be a food by the FDA) is added to lots of things that want to report having high protein content. Oh, and don't forget the estrogen analogues found in soy. Anyhow, challenging as it was, eliminating soy products resulted in a huge improvement to my energy level. (I suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, and my nutritionist believes that it was caused by the soy alergy compromising my immune system.)

    I know lots of people who have suffered from prolonged illness that was completely blown off by MDs that was then remedied very quickly by a nutritionist. And it frustrates me to no end how ignorant MDs are about nutritional effects and that they never refer people to nutritionists!

    Ok, so what's my point? That in a lot of cases, I would not be surprised of there was some kind of food that people are sensitive to or which is eaten to excess that has compromised part of their metabolism. Taking insulin shots was a bandaid for diabetics. Taking something to inhibit PKCepsilon production is a BETTER bandaid, but it's still a bandaid. Someone's got to figure out the root cause.

    Oh, did you know that a significant number of autism cases, when caught early enough, show remarkable improvement when wheat and dairy are removed from their diets? Many neurologists will tell you otherwise, but that's because they just don't study nutrition in school. The nutritionists know otherwise.

    Oh, and BTW, I'm not against MDs. I just know their limitations. Got a broken bone, lyme disease, or a structural organ failure? Better go to an MD. But many of the little things that affect people's health are not in the "take this pill" or "let me operate" categories but rather in the "don't eat this" and "eat this instead" categories. The effect of environment and intake has a HUGE impact on the human body!

    • by julesh (229690)
      Ok, so what's my point? That in a lot of cases, I would not be surprised of there was some kind of food that people are sensitive to or which is eaten to excess that has compromised part of their metabolism. Taking insulin shots was a bandaid for diabetics. Taking something to inhibit PKCepsilon production is a BETTER bandaid, but it's still a bandaid. Someone's got to figure out the root cause.

      Not everything is dietary. Sure, type II diabetes can often be controlled by dietary changes, but it usually stil
      • by Theovon (109752)
        As far as I understand both the dairy allergy in the other patient I mentioned and the soy allergy that I have are things that run in the family. My mother has a mild soy allergy, and the other patient's mother and grandmother have problems with dairy. I would agree with you that, often, some other thing can be the cause of the sensitivity, but in these two cases, they seem to be more examples of "genetic defects."
  • Let's celebrate this with a German chocolate cake.
  • is overconsumption of refined carbohydrates. This causes an insulin overproduction and consequential insulin resistance and tiring of the pancreas. If type II diabetes were not caused by diet, then why does it respond so well to a low carbohydrate diet? All symptoms disappear. This indicates that it is not a permanent condition but one brought on by the sufferers own dietary habits. See the following: "the Cure for Diabetes" in Men's Health http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth& [menshealth.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Major Blud (789630) *
      As someone who has Type 1, I can tell you that there is no difference between "refined" cabs and "regular" carbs. Carbohydrates are carbohydrates, no matter if they come from bread, rice, ice cream, or a big ole' bucket of sugar. The only thing to keep in mind is that you're limited to a certain amount of carbs a day, and you have to decide on what food you will eat to get those carbs....would it be more beneficial to get carbs from a wheat bread sandwich or a twinkie? I think that's what you're getting a
  • This discovery may allow pharmaceutical companies to develop a drug to block the enzyme, allowing cells in the pancreas to function normally . . .

    Suuuure . . . that the drug companies will sell you for the low, low price of three grand a month or so for the rest of your life, none of which your HMO will pay for because it's "experimental" (read: Too expensive). A few years from now we'll discover that it causes liver damage, too.

    Why couldn't they just spend the resources to cure the underlying disease?
  • Attention, Slashdot-reading philanthropists!!

    When is somebody going to offer a massive cash prize for:

    1. A cure for diabetes;
    2. A method of testing one's blood sugar without consumable ($1/test) test strips.

    The prize would have to be massive enough to incentivize claiming the prize as opposed to the huge economic disincentives going the other way (pushing insulin, selling test strips).
  • PKCepsilon (Score:2, Funny)

    by Luigi30 (656867)
    Now we just need someone to invent PKUnCepsilon.
  • Since one of my best friends and my mother suffers from diabetes I try and keep my eye open for news on this kind of thing, while this is an interesting discovery there was this piece of news from back in December that seems even more promising:
    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=a042812e-492c-4f07-8245-8a598ab5d1bf&k=63970&p=1/ [canada.com]

    I really home that one or both of these discoveries lead to better treatments for people with this disease.

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