Longer Living, Gluten Free + Type 1, Kids’ DKA Rates

The Insulin Nation Research Roundup for January 2015.

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The Life Expectancy Gap is Shrinking
When is it a good thing to be told the life expectancy of a person with Type 1 diabetes is 11 to 13 years shorter than the lifespan of the average population? When that difference in lifespan used to span more than two decades.

A pair of new studies seems to indicate that newer forms of intensive insulin therapy is keeping people with Type 1 diabetes alive longer. Recent research examining public health records in Scotland found that the average lifespan of a person with Type 1 diabetes was 11 years shorter for men and 13 years shorter for women than the average lifespan of those without Type 1 diabetes, according to Medical News Today. At the same time, another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that intensive insulin therapy modestly reduced all-cause mortality for people with Type 1 diabetes. Previously, the lifespan gap between people with Type 1 and people without reached up to 27 years. Diabetes researchers, however, stressed that no difference in lifespan is acceptable.

Another Stem Cell Research Dustup
What is it about stem cell studies that make them so prone to their validity being questioned?

The therapy, which holds the promise of generating insulin-producing beta cells for people with Type 1 diabetes, has come under scrutiny again, according to a Fierce BioTech Research report. Two stem cell researchers are suing Harvard University and Brigham & Women’s hospital for allegedly mishandling investigations into problems with their stem cell research. The two researchers say the irregularities were caused by a third researcher, but that the supposedly-botched investigations destroyed their reputations. The stem cell research in question was for heart tissue regeneration, not diabetes research, but it is one of a long list of stem cell studies under fire, which could chill the climate for such therapy.

Jury’s Still Out for the Type 1 Gluten-Free Diet
shutterstock_124504393_gluten_free_bread_250pxEveryone and their mother may be going gluten-free these days, but scientific evidence may still be lacking to prove the diet would benefit people with Type 1 diabetes. According to a report in Renal and Urology News, a Massachusetts General Hospital study examined the available evidence on gluten-free living and Type 1 diabetes, and found that the diet did not allow for increased control of blood sugar levels. Also, the researchers warned, the diet is expensive and often poorly followed. Also, some gluten-free foods are higher on the glycemic index than their gluten-filled counterparts.

U.S. Children Have a Higher Rate of DKA
shutterstock_142939915_child_doctor_visit_250pxA multinational study examining rates of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) for nearly 60,000 children with Type 1 diabetes in the the U.S., England, Wales, Germany, and Austria found that children with Type 1 in the U.S. were more at risk of a DKA event than their counterparts in highly-industrialized countries. According to an article in Glu, 5.3% of children in the five regions had a DKA event in the past year, but 6.2% of children with Type 1 in the U.S. experienced DKA during that time frame. In that same time, children in England with Type 1 had a 6.0% chance of DKA, German children with Type 1 had a 4.5% DKA rate, and Welsh children with Type 1 had a 4.4% DKA rate. Austria had the lowest DKA rate of the five regions studied, with just 3.3% of children with Type 1 reporting an event in the past year.

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Craig Idlebrook is managing editor for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. He's written about health policy, environmental health, community health, and maternal health for over 25 publications. You can reach him at cidlebrook@epscomm.com.