Loss of vision due to retinopathy is one of the long-term and potentially disabling complications of diabetes. A degenerative disorder, it sneaks up gradually. But what triggers diabetic retinopathy? University of Minnesota neuroscientist Eric Newman, Ph.D., who has studied the retina for more than 35 years, thinks he knows, and he's now testing a simple means that could combat it.
Results tagged “Discoveries in Diabetes”
For decades, researchers have focused much of their energy on minimizing the impact of diabetes. Because people with diabetes do not have functioning pancreas islet cells--essential for producing the insulin our bodies need--physicians and scientists have found ways to help them manage their blood sugar levels through lifestyle changes, medications, and insulin injections.
But Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., director of the University of Minnesota's Stem Cell Institute, wants to think much bigger. He doesn't just want to make it easier for patients to live with their diabetes; he wants to cure them of it.
He has toured 47 states and 23 countries to increase awareness of cystic fibrosis (CF)--a genetic disorder that causes mucus to build up and clog some organs of the body, primarily the lungs--and he gets hugs everywhere he goes. This furry advocate is Burke P. Bear, a cuddly teddy bear named in honor of Burke P. Derr, who died two days before his 19th birthday in 1997 from complications of CF.
Pastor Constance “Connie” Olson worked 70-hour weeks, tending to the needs—spiritual and otherwise—of her congregation. She was also a type 1 diabetic, suff ering from hypoglycemic unawareness. This complication meant that she didn’t experience early warning signs of dangerously low blood sugar—such as sweating, dizziness, and extreme hunger—causing her to unexpectedly have seizures and lose consciousness.
Siobhan O’Brien Olson grew up understanding the importance of community giving. In fact, her family’s Alice M. O’Brien Foundation has been supporting numerous charities in Minnesota for 60 years. Nearly eight years ago, the foundation established the O’Brien BioBank for lung research at the University of Minnesota—just one of numerous gifts the foundation has made to support medical research at the University.
Diabetes never takes a break.
For people living with type 1 diabetes, the task of monitoring blood glucose levels an administering insulin is always at the forefront of their minds. It’s something they must do multiple times a day, every day.
But University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic scientists are working together to build an artificial pancreas that would eliminate this burden.