Science Daily | A clinical trial recently showed that nearly half of individuals with type 2 diabetes achieved remission to a non-diabetic state after a weight-loss intervention delivered within 6 years of diagnosis.
Now a study published August 2nd in the journal Cell Metabolism reveals that this successful response to weight loss is associated with the early and sustained improvement in the functioning of pancreatic beta cells.
This finding challenges the previous paradigm that beta-cell function is irreversibly lost in patients with type 2 diabetes.
“This observation carries potentially important implications for the initial clinical approach to management,” says senior study author Roy Taylor of Newcastle University.
“At present, the early management of type 2 diabetes tends to involve a period of adjusting to the diagnosis plus pharmacotherapy with lifestyle changes, which in practice are modest. Our data suggest that substantial weight loss at the time of diagnosis is appropriate to rescue the beta cells.”
According to the World Health Organization, diabetes affects approximately 422 million people worldwide.
Approximately 90% of cases are type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body does not produce enough or respond properly to insulin.
This hormone, produced by beta cells in the pancreas, helps a sugar called glucose in the blood enter cells in muscle, fat, and liver to be used for energy.
Type 2 diabetes has long been considered a lifelong condition that worsens over time.
This traditional view was recently challenged by results from the United-Kingdom-based Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) overseen by Taylor.
The participants, who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 6 years of the start of the study, were randomly assigned to best-practice care (control group) or an intensive primary-care-led weight-management program (intervention group).
One year later, 46% of the individuals in the intervention group successfully responded to weight loss in that they recovered and maintained control over blood glucose concentrations. Read the full story at Science Daily.