Unique New Drug May Help Those with Diabetes

Type II diabetes is at near epidemic levels in the United States. As Americans get more and more overweight, doctors are even diagnosing type II diabetes in children. Twenty years ago Type 1 diabetes was the only form of the disease diagnosed in people under the age of 45. Type 1 is caused by an immune system response that destroys the islet cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type II on the other hand, results from a gradual “wearing out” of those insulin producing cells and is complicated by obesity and a Western diet rich in fats and sugars.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

Since Drs. Banting and Best first discovered insulin in the 1920’s it has been a godsend to the millions of diabetics worldwide. Promising research using stem cells and new transplantation techniques offer hope for the future, but diabetics must still inject insulin on a daily basis or take drugs to stimulate production of the hormone to survive. Despite this there is still a very real danger of suffering from the disease’s many complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. Control of glucose levels is crucial in managing the disease and avoiding these complications.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

The new class of drugs are synthetic hormones that resemble human Amylin. Amylin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and released into the blood after meals and helps the body regulate levels of blood glucose. Amylin helps slow the rate in which food is absorbed from the small intestine. It also reduces the production of glucose by the liver by affecting glucagon, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates production of glucose by the liver. Amylin also reduces appetite and may be an effective aid for weight control in healthy people.

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