Autoimmune Disease: July Roundup of Medical Literature

This article is part of a monthly series dedicated to highlighting current trends in autoimmune disease research.  My aim is to understand how research findings may affect future research, treatment advances, and technology solutions. 

Italian study measures adherence to Mediterranean Diet in people with type 1 diabetes

This observational, two-center study assessed the food pattern intake of 262 people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and 254 age/sex matched non-T1Ds in Italy. This study focused on the Mediterranean Diet characterized by a “low intake of animal fat and high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil and moderate intake of fish, poultry, and red wine.” The Mediterranean Diet is associated with a “reduction in 9% overall mortality from cardiovascular disease.”  There have been few studies that assess the Mediterranean Diet and include a control group, like this study, which aims to understand if T1Ds adhere to the Mediterranean Diet more than non-T1Ds.

The study measured a variety of clinical variables in both groups, and performed statistical analysis on the data. The results indicate that T1Ds had “healthier food intake patterns than the control group.” Interestingly, T1Ds had a higher intake of potatoes, bread, and cereal – which is high in carbohydrates and counter to my own philosophy. T1Ds also had a higher intake of key nutrients and minerals. The researchers assessed that factors like location of residence, education level, and age were associated to the success of healthier food intake in the T1D group.

The study successfully addressed its purpose to understand if T1Ds have healthier eating patterns and adherence to the Mediterranean Diet than non-T1Ds. I am curious if a similar study was conducted on other dietary patterns in other regions what the results would reveal. [NCBI]    

French study established recommendations for daily sugar intake

A literature review was conducted of mechanistic studies, prospective cohort studies, and randomized clinical trials. The working group sought out studies ranging from obesity and diabetes to cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease. The aim was to assess if there was evidence in the scientific literature to link sugar consumption and health, with the intent of highlighting public health implications.

The results of the literature review indicate that there is an association between sugar intake and body weight gain, insulin resistance, and other factors. The work done by the working group was used by the ANSES Expert Committee on Human Nutrition to recommend that “total daily sugar intake should not exceed 100 g/day.” It will be interesting to watch if and how policies/measures are implemented to help consumers reduced daily intake of sugar. As a note: one author received research grants from Nestle and Gatorade, while another received grants from the French Dairy Interbranch Organization. [NCBI]

Vintage Dumbells-2
Photo: Unsplash/Cyril Saulnier 

Two weeks of reduced physical activity has long-term metabolic effects

Forty-five healthy adults participated in a step-reduction study in order to assess if short-term decreased physical exercise led to long term reduction in health. Sixteen of the participants had a close relative with type 2 diabetes and 29 not did. Multiple factors were measured before the participants began the study, like blood pressure, insulin levels, body fat, and body mass. Participants then had to reduce their daily step count from >10,000 to ~1,500 for 14 days. The same factors were measured after the 14 day period. Then participants resumed their daily step count at >10,000 for 14 days, at which point, the same measurements were taken.   

Researchers noted that previous studies were “extreme experimental models” and “not representative of free-living individuals.” Also addressed was the lack of a control group because recruitment for the study was difficult. Results of the study showed that there was no significant difference between the two groups. Both groups saw altered skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity that did not return to baseline and an increase in total body fat. Keep in mind, these results occurred after only two weeks of inactivity! [Springer]

Fast-acting insulin aspart provides improved post meal control

In a randomized, double‐blind, crossover trial, researchers addressed how-to lower post meal glucose with the introduction of new fast-acting insulin aspart. The goal is to better mimic non-T1D insulin response post meal with faster onset. The study had 41 T1Ds who underwent an initial screening visit, two dosing visits, and a follow-up visit. There were six hypoglycemic episodes, one due to fast-acting insulin aspart and five due to insulin aspart, within one-hour of dosing.

Overall, the main difference between the two control groups was insulin response within the first 1-2 hours after insulin was administered. The study concluded that fast-acting insulin aspart “provided earlier onset of exposure compared to insulin aspart,” and “led to a trend towards improved 1-hour [post meal] control.” I am hopeful that scientific advances will inch closer and closer to successfully mimicking non-T1D insulin response. The study was funded by Novo Nordisk. [NCBI]

Have you read any interesting articles over the last month? Share with me in the comments.

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