Here’s a summary of the top diabetes news of today. Click the links for more information.
BY JACK WOODFIELD: The US government is being urged to take action over soaring insulin prices in America.
The average price of insulin has nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, making accessing insulin very difficult for many Americans with diabetes.
The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling on the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to start lowering the price of insulin and monitor market competition in a bid to keep a tighter control of increasing costs.
Insulin is an essential medication for people with type 1 diabetes. Unlike the UK, where the NHS is largely funded by tax payers, US citizens must pay for their own medical bills and treatment either through insurance or via their own pocket. This means that diabetes is a significant financial burden for those in the US. (read more)
BY MEG TIRRELL AND JODI GRALNICK: Instead of relying solely on drugs to manage the disease, doctors are writing prescriptions for certain patients to enter its Fresh Food Farmacy program: 15 hours of education about diabetes and healthier living, followed by 10 free nutritious meals a week for participants and their families.
“In health care we spend an awful lot on drugs and devices because it’s business,” said Dr. Andrea Feinberg, Geisinger’s medical director of health and wellness. “But we spend a very small amount on preventive medicine. … It’s sort of like we’re upside down and backward.”
The program targets people with diabetes and food insecurity, those for whom it’s not always clear where the next meal will come from. (read more)
BY REBECCA OCHS: The list of health benefits afforded by coffee keeps getting longer – a team of scientists in Switzerland have published a study suggesting that current insulin injections used to treat type 2 diabetes could be replaced one day by drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks.
The results of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications.
Type 2 diabetes affects more than 400 million people worldwide. People with the condition develop insulin resistance, thereby causing blood sugar levels to spike after meals. Although the disease can be managed by monitoring blood sugar levels and administering insulin injections as needed, this can be a time-consuming and inconvenient process. (read more)
BY MAYO CLINIC: Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer can develop elevated blood sugar levels up to three years before their cancer diagnosis, according to the results of a study by Mayo Clinic researchers published the journal Gastroenterology.
“Pancreatic cancer is rapidly fatal after its diagnosis, with average survival of six months,” says Suresh Chari, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic. “It has also been thought that its course prior to diagnosis is also rapid and that early detection is not feasible. But our studies provide hope that pancreatic cancer can indeed be diagnosed at an earlier stage when it is resectable.”
In the first study, researchers plotted blood sugars levels of patients with pancreatic cancer going back five years prior to diagnosis. They also plotted the blood sugars of a control group of patients who were age and gender matched to the patients with pancreatic cancer. In this group, researchers were able to show that blood sugars rise 30 to 36 months before the diagnosis of cancer. (read more)
BY HEALIO: Social drinkers have a reduced risk for developing type 2 diabetes vs. nondrinkers and regular or heavy drinkers, illustrating a U-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and incident diabetes risk in men and women, study data show.
“Several studies have reported the biological mechanisms to explain the lower risk of development of diabetes in people with modest alcohol consumption,” Yun-Ju Lai, of the National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine in Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues wrote. “Alcohol may improve insulin resistance by inhibiting gluconeogenesis, which leads to decreased risks of the development of diabetes. In addition, the so-called anti-inflammatory theory was also reported, which suggests that alcohol may positively change the expressions of inflammatory proteins such as adiponectin and interleukin-1b involved in metabolic processes.” (read more)