June updates: linking diabetes to cancer, weight loss and environmental cues

June 8, 2010 by  
Filed under DIABETES

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Today I am bringing you the latest research updates on diabetes: how cancer, loss weight and environmental factors are linked to diabetes

Increased cancer risk of people with type 2 diabetes
What do cancer and diabetes have in common? Researchers report that people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have an increased risk for certain types of cancer. The study looked at 125,126 Swedish patients with T2DM and the incidence of cancer in this group of patients. The results indicate that patients with T2DM have increased risk for developing 24 types of cancer. These patients have double the risk for cancers of kidneys, thyroid, esophagus, small intestine and nervous system, and 4.5 times the risk for cancers of the liver cell and the pancreas compared to the general population. However, the risk for prostate cancer is much lower. The increased rates cannot be attributed to early detection of cancer as a result of close and routine monitoring of T2DM patients compared to the general population. The mechanisms linking the two diseases are not so clear. Two possibilities are: 1) they have the same risk factors 2) T2DM causes “processes in the body which promote the onset or growth of cancer.”

New study finds attending Weight Watchers meetings helps reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes
Weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers are beneficial for those with pre-diabetes and help reduce the risk of developing full-blown T2DM. Researchers report that those who participated in such program have, after 6 months, lost some weight but also improved glycemic parameters such as fasting blood glucose and insulin levels. There are many such programs out there but Weight Watchers are the best-known and most popular. The program includes education on a lower calorie diet (a food plan), exercise (an activity plan) and weekly group support sessions. Success is especially evident among those who attend the most sessions. According to study author Dr. Kathleen Melanson:

We know that previous research programs have successfully reduced diabetes risk using intensive lifestyle treatment. But what we didn’t know is that a program that costs appreciably much less than specially-designed diabetes prevention programs would have a profound impact on the same risk factors for type 2 diabetes. These findings could have important public health potential.”

New associations between diabetes, environmental factors found by novel Stanford analytic technique
Finally, Stanford researchers report new evidence that indicates a link between environmental factors and diabetes. Diabetes has been linked to genetic and lifestyle risk factors but this latest report says that environmental factors should also be taken into consideration. Whereas environmental factors have been closely linked to diseases such as cancer and asthma, very few studies have demonstrated this in the case of diabetes. Some of the environmental cues for diabetes are exposure to pesticides and other organic compounds as well as consumption of a certain type of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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