Posts Tagged ‘McGill University’

“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

This is a special post for my blog’s 3rd anniversary! It’s a time for inspiration — to help me keep momentum in order to serve you well, Dear Reader — and a chance to thank you for your comments over the years (I severely limit those posted to about 25% of what is received, but I read each comment).

I also want to use today to mention two more inspirational pieces of news — one in regard to Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes and One about a Type 1 diabetic Olympian, Kris Freeman.

  • Another step on the road to a cure for diabetes may give hope to the world’s 171 million diabetics, thanks to collaboration between research teams from McGill University in Canada and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).Diabetes is believed to occur when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin because of the destruction or the dysfunction of small clusters of cells, known as islets of Langerhans. However, the rest of the pancreas, which produces alkaline digestive enzymes (the exocrine system), manages to remain intact and functioning.

    Scientists know that during embryonic development, and in all likelihood throughout life, exocrine pancreatic cells can transform to become islet cells and begin secreting insulin.

    Therefore, finding a way to activate this transformation and control its outcome, holds the greatest promise in terms of improved treatments for diabetes. But, unfortunately, at the moment, the genes involved are not thoroughly understood.

    Recently, a team led by Constantin Polychronakos, (McGill’s Endocrine Genetics Laboratory at The Children’s Hospital site of the Research Institute of the McGill University Hospital Centre [RI-MUHC]), used state-of-the-art technologies (such as capture microarrays and highly parallel sequencing) to examine a previously unstudied gene called RFX6.

    The Canadian team discovered mutations in this gene and found these mutations cause the rare syndrome of neonatal diabetes which involve the complete absence of islets of Langerhans. The work will be published in the journal “Nature”.

    Meanwhile, their collaborator at UCSF, Michael German, importantly showed the same outcome in animals. Mice whose RFX6 genes had been artificially disrupted, did develop exactly the same syndrome as was found in human neonatal diabetes cases.

    As stated, this syndrome is an extremely rare cause of diabetes, but the knowledge acquired about the gene involved may benefit all people suffering from diabetes.

    “This discovery brings us closer to one day finding a cure for diabetes. Now that we know the RFX6 gene is crucial in the process of insulin production, the door is open to finding a cure through gene therapy or therapeutics that will create new islets out of cells from the rest of the pancreas,” said Polychronakos.

    The study was funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

  • Type 1 Diabetic and 3-time Olympian swimmer, Gary Hall, already an inspiration with 10 medals, writes about Kris Freeman, current Winter Olympic Type1 diabetic and what it means to be an energetically-active diabetic.Freeman is the United States’ best hope for a medal in the rigorous cross-country skiing events at the Vancouver Olympics.

    For someone with diabetes mellitus, maintaining a steady blood sugar level is absolutely crucial in the days leading up to and through a competition, and that’s easier said than done, regardless of whether it’s an endurance event like Freeman’s or a sprint.

    First, one has to travel to the competition and the site venue, often across time zones, and Olympics processing can exhaust even the most conditioned athletes.

    Then, Hall reports that the Olympic Village is nice enough, but that it is hardly a comfortable environment. The food is plentiful, but a careful eater would have a hard time. Athletes aren’t known to be picky eaters, but even regular athletes are learning more about “Food as Fuel”.

    They are becoming more aware and on a recent edition of the Biggest Loser, I saw that happening in Colorado Springs where the US Olympic Team trains. The nutritionists and exercise physiologists are cracking the food code for best performance and teaching American athletes, finally, with recommendations fine-tuned per athlete and per sport.

    But, athletes with diabetes need to watch what they eat even more closely than the average competitor.

    And, even in real day-to-day life, if you have diabetes then any changes in environment, energy levels, stress or food can set off blood sugar ranges showing a graph pattern reflective of the mountains and valleys these present Olympic athletes participate in!

    My father, who struggled with diabetes for about 15 years, always kept a steady regimen. He did it because he knew it is the best way to keep balance. That took great discipline on his part, but it did pay off.

    The answer to the question of why blood glucose behavior is so dramatically varied on a practice day (couched in routine) versus a game day is stress.

    Any athlete, especially a diabetic one, must take into account the adrenaline, endorphins and other hormones which are naturally released with a maximum physical exertion. Most people aren’t able to relate to this, but it can happen in non-athletes, too, depending on the trigger.

    STRESS is a big factor in rampantly raging blood-sugar levels. It’s the adrenalin loop, and happens to executives at their desk, harassed grocery clerks and everyone in between.

    The encouraging news is that it is possible to manage all of these factors, even at the top-levels of sport. Just look at Kris Freeman, whom all of us are cheering on!

  • You hold the future in your hands, by the choices you make.
    ___ Move!
    ___ Eat in a healthy way (not what’s pushed by the American Diabetes Association which emphasizes too many grains and allows artificial sweeteners).
    ___ Learn stress reduction techniques and do them daily.
    ___ Value these enough to spend your (even limited) resources on them!
    ___ Hold yourself accountable to make good choices and follow-through.
    ___ Make your thoughts and surroundings a positive influence.
    ___ Laugh and enjoy your life.
    ___ Think beyond yourself.

    Please look at the other articles in my blog’s archive. I know there are many posts which will help you, Dear Reader. I hope to continue this blog for another year, at least, if the Divine makes it so.

    I wish all of you and yours well. Live in Hope and do Learn what you really need to make a difference in your Life. For many, cure is even possible, with the right knowledge and action.

    Best to all — Em

    (c)2010 Em at https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

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