New Diabetes Cases Finally on the Decline

After decades of relentless rise, the number of new cases of diabetes in the United States has finally started to decline.

Source: New Diabetes Cases, at Long Last, Begin to Fall in the United States

While minorities have higher rates of diabetes than non-Hispanic whites in general:

…I think, in absolute numbers, whites still make up the majority of diabetes cases.

The higher rates of diabetes in minorities is a complicated issue. Genetics may play some part in it, but the bulk of the risk comes from socioeconomic factors. There are such things as urban food deserts where a healthy diet is not easily available. Take the case of New York City. Here’s a map of veggie intake, supermarket availablity, and diabetes rates. You may notice that these neighborhoods correspond closely with low-income, minority populated neighborhoods. Speaking from personal experience living in some of these areas, fried and fast foods are readily available. Fresh fruits and veggies? Not as much.

Stem Cell Trial Aims to Cure Blindness

Surgeons in London have carried out a pioneering human embryonic stem cell operation in an ongoing trial to find a cure for blindness for many patients.

Source: Stem cell trial aims to cure blindness

They’ll have to wait til at least Christmas to see if the patients’ vision has improved and if it is sustainable.

They used an embryonic stem cell in an attempt to rebuild the RPE, which is how they can apply it to dry AMD (I did not gather that any drusen would be removed, but I guess it would strengthen the integrity of the RPE after suffering mottling/RPED’s, and thus prevent the choroid from breaking through???). This might, one day, potentially cure only “wet” macular degeneration (MD).  Wet is the less common (10%) kind of MD, but there are still going to be millions affected by the more common “dry” (non-leaking) type of MD.

That said, a company called OCATA has halted blindness from MD (dry and Stargardt’s) in 17 out of 18 patients, and actually improved vision in 10. They have patented a technique to regrow stem cells and they are the real deal, now in Phase II I believe.

Why You Should Thank an Astronomer for Preventing Blindness

We are, as Carl Sagan famously said, made of star stuff—and now, your doctor may use a technology designed for studying the stars to examine the inner workings of your eyes. Here’s how it works—and could one day save you from blindness.

Source: Why You Should Thank an Astronomer for Preventing Blindness

Three Important Things You Probably Don’t Know About Diabetes

When we think of diabetes, we tend to think of rich people with poor lifestyles. A chronic disease linked with obesity, heart disease and worse outcomes for some infectious diseases, diabetes tends to be associated in our minds with wealth, excess and over-consumption.

Source: Three Important Things You Probably Don’t Know About Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a different disease. T1D is so different from Type 2 Diabetes, that many in the the T1D community think there should be different names for these diseases. T1D is an auto-immune disease with no known cause or cure.

Dogs can be trained to detect blood sugar levels by smell.  A T1D afflicted person can have a trained companion who is tasked with barking or otherwise alerting others or T1D person when their blood sugar is out of range… Dogs are cool. Think you’d get that from a cat? 😉

Some People Are Protected From Type 2 Diabetes — What We Can Learn From Them

Diabetes is one of the top public health concerns in the United States, with no cure — 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, have diabetes. Only 1.25 million of those cases are type 1 diabetes, the type you’re born with. The rest suffer from type 2 — the seventh-leading cause of death in the country.

Researchers are beginning to dive into genetics to determine better treatment and prevention tactics. The latest finding? According to a new study, a specific gene mutation appears to protect people from developing type 2 diabetes — a finding that may help experts develop new interventions.

Source: Some People Are Protected From Type 2 Diabetes — What We Can Learn From Them

Please do not use this information to believe you are protected from type 2 diabetes.