95% of morbidly obese people – those with a Body Mass Index of over 40 – have Type 2 diabetes, sometimes known as maturity-onset diabetes.
However, nearly 80% of patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery to reduce the size of their stomachs and small intestines find that their diabetes disappears within two to three days – before any weight loss has occurred.
Senior Clinical Lecturer Dr Jeffrey Stephens is leading the research at the School of Medicine’s Diabetes Research Group. He said: “Although patients with Type 2 diabetes do not always require insulin treatment, the average diabetic needs about 30 units of insulin a day to control blood sugar levels.
“For obese patients, this can rise to 200 units a day. To go from such a high level of insulin-dependency to not needing insulin in a matter of a few days is a dramatic result, and we need to understand the reasons why this happens.”
The research team, which includes Professor Steve Bain and Professor Rhys Williams from Swansea University’s School of Medicine, and Professor John Baxter, a bariatric surgeon with Swansea NHS Trust, are focusing attention on a protein known as Glucagon Like Peptide 1 (GLP-1), which is produced in the small intestine.
Dr Stephens said: “Overweight people who have Type 2 diabetes tend to have lower levels of GLP1 and we are investigating whether these levels return to normal after bariatric surgery. Basically, we want to know whether reducing the size of the small intestine and stomach restores production of GLP1, and why this should be the case.”
High blood sugar seen with poorly controlled diabetes may cause lethargy, excessive thirst and susceptibility to infection, and contributes to diabetic complications including premature heart disease, stroke, blindness, and gangrene.
“Bariatric surgery is not just effective in terms of controlling obesity. It clearly has other major health implications, with the potential to impact positively on Type 2 diabetes and other associated conditions. There is also the potential for the NHS to generate substantial savings in long term treatment costs,” added Dr Stephens.
“Not only will this research improve our understanding of why overweight people develop Type 2 diabetes, it may also lead to an effective, non-surgical treatment for those with the condition. We are immensely grateful to the BUPA Foundation for giving us this opportunity.”
Bethan Evans | alfa
Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance
25.09.2017 | Institut Pasteur
MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer
25.09.2017 | Case Western Reserve University
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy