Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Lettuce cure Diabetes

First, a little refresher on the two types of Diabetes...

If you are concerned for the future of America's health care system, you are concerned about obesity and diabetes, especially Type II diabetes which is for the most part is a lifestyle disease. Obesity and the resultant occurrence of Type II Diabetes is going to choke our health care system when the baby boomers retire and lose access to employer-sponsored health insurance.

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the U.S., contributing to 224,092 deaths in 2002. Seven percent of the population, 20.8 million, has diabetes. Every day, 4,110 people are diagnosed with diabetes.

Type I, or "Juvenile Diabetes" is an inherited autoimmune disorder that has nothing to do with diet or build. The body's immune system malfunctions and attacks the "Beta Cells" in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is a hormone that allows glucose to enter red blood cells and move about the body.

Type II can often times be reversed with improvements in diet and exercise while Type I is treated with insulin administered via several daily injections or via an insulin pump.

Sadly, Type I and Type II Diabetes gets lumped together in no small part because parents allowing their children to become obese are increasingly finding their children diagnosed with Type II diabetes which normally occurs in adulthood.

RISE IN CHILDHOOD OBESITY LINKED TO INCREASE IN TYPE 2 DIABETES An eight-member expert panel of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that between 8 and 45 percent of newly diagnosed cases of childhood diabetes are type 2, non-insulin dependent, associated with obesity. The panel included members of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The report was published in the March issues of Diabetes Care, a journal of the ADA, and Pediatrics.

Here is a very technical but very interesting article on a novel approach to treating Type I Diabetes, which effects our 8 1/2-year old daughter, JBird: Lettuce and Diabetes

"Can
insulin produced in lettuce cure type 1 diabetes some day? Possibly. In mice, it seems to modulate the immune attack on the beta cells that is the hallmark of type 1 diabetes. But the pathway is complex."

"Now researchers at the University of Central Florida, led by Henry Daniell, are working at an ingenious method to allow insulin -- as well as various vaccines -- to be delivered orally to the gut, where the insulin can act as an immunomodulator, a substance that modulates your immune system response."

"First, they're producing the proteins in genetically modified plants. They've used tobacco and, more recently, lettuce to produce human proinsulin (the compound that is broken down in the beta cells into insulin and C-peptide)."

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