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Easing Transitions from Pediatric to Adult Care for Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that often emerges in childhood, and, as of yet, has no cure. Patients must learn to effectively manage their diabetes throughout all stages of their lives and continue following up with their healthcare provider. However, a recent study found that as children progress from adolescence into adulthood, there is often no formal transition process to help them adapt to adult care for diabetes.

In shifting from pediatric to adult care, patients must find a new provider who is skilled in managing diabetes care, transfer their records, adapt to less flexible scheduling options, and familiarize themselves with the changes that come with moving to an adult provider. These can all be challenging adjustments while also dealing with other life events that come with adulthood.

While the United States created a series of recommendations for facilitating this transition, many diabetes centers still did not have a structured program in place. The study interviewed 15 pediatric diabetes centers in Quebec and found that only three had a formal policy on transitions. However, they did not include patients or their families when creating these policies. Some facilities required patients to transition at age 18 while others gave more flexibility depending on the patient’s readiness.

Given that type 1 diabetes is a condition that patients must manage throughout their lives, providing the support and guidance necessary to ease transitions and promote continued good health is essential. It is important to raise awareness and encourage pediatric and adult practices to increase communication and coordination in helping patients with diabetes to transition their care between providers.

The Diabetes Research Connection is doing its part to raise awareness when it comes to type 1 diabetes and the push to find more effective treatments and ways to improve quality of life. The organization provides funding to early career scientists who conduct research focused on type 1 diabetes and are developing innovative approaches. Help support these projects by visiting the Diabetes Research Connection online.

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Islet transplantation requires immunosuppressive drugs be taken for the rest of a person's life, though improving the body's ability to manage glucose levels significantly lowers the risk for adverse health events. islet transportation Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Researchers Target Immune System for Potential Type 1 Diabetes Treatment

The immune system plays an important role in type 1 diabetes; after all, it is the immune system that destroys insulin-producing cells. When cells are damaged or destroyed, it decreases the body’s ability to convert sugar to energy and produce insulin. Instead, individuals must monitor and adjust their insulin on their own through injections or an insulin pump.

In a small study, researchers examined the possibility of retraining the body’s immune system to not attack insulin-producing cells. They did this through the use of peptide immunotherapy. According to Simi Ahmed, senior scientist at JDRF, “The immunotherapy re-educates the immune system and teaches the cells that they shouldn’t attack the beta cells.”

This is done by injecting disease-related antigens to stimulate regulatory T-cells development and/or make them work better.  However, scientists have not yet determined exactly which antigens are responsible for type 1 diabetes. This is an area where more research is needed.

The study divided up 27 participants into three groups.  All participants had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes within 100 days, because scientists wanted to test the immunotherapy before all or most of the T-cells had been destroyed, which is common in individuals who have had diabetes for many years.

One group received a placebo drug, one group received immunotherapy every four weeks, and one group received immunotherapy every two weeks. The results showed that the control group had decreased C-peptide levels at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, but those who received immunotherapy every four weeks had no decline in C-peptide levels. The group that received immunotherapy every two weeks showed a decline in C-peptide levels at 12 months.  When C-peptide levels decrease, it means that less insulin is being produced.

While the test group was too small to determine why these variations occurred, it does show that there is potential in this therapy and more extensive testing is needed with a larger group.  There were no noted side effects, meaning immunotherapy appears to be safe for individuals with type 1 diabetes.

Further research is needed to determine how often immunotherapy would be needed and whether individuals who have had the disease for many years could potentially benefit. Studies have shown that some people who have had diabetes long-term still have detectable C-peptide levels.

This study opens the door for many new trials and areas of research. Immunotherapy is an approach that may hold great potential upon initial diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. The Diabetes Research Connection supports this type of innovative research and funds studies that are often deemed high-risk. Learn more about the projects backed by the Diabetes Research Connection by visiting us online and consider donating to the cause.

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Christel Oerum

How to Live a Healthy Life with Type 1 Diabetes

About Christel

Christel is a Los Angeles based blogger, certified personal trainer, and diabetes advocate. She has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1997 and at an early stage decided that it wasn’t going to slow her down. Her motto is “There is Nothing You Can’t do With Diabetes”. She writes about Health, Fitness and how to be Fit With Diabetes on TheFitBlog.com. She also trains people with diabetes from across the globe, online and in person, and supports them in meeting their health and fitness goals.

How to Live a Healthy Life with Type 1 Diabetes

Most of the people who approach me for diabetes coaching wants to know the secrets to living a healthy life with diabetes.

Many of their questions are about weight loss, blood sugar management when exercising, and healthy nutrition. There is so much conflicting information online on what we should and should not do to be healthy with type one diabetes that it’s no wonder there’s confusion on the subject!

I love sharing my experience and what works for me. I started my website, TheFitBlog.com, as a solution to what I perceived as an information void when it comes to exercise and health for people living with diabetes. TheFitBlog is a dedicated diabetes website written by people with diabetes for people with diabetes.

You’ll find an abundance of resources on TheFitBlog, but today I want to share my top tips for living a healthy life with #T1D.

1.     Resistance training

While cardio can be great for stress management and strengthening the cardiovascular system, resistance training is literally your golden ticket to better diabetes health – both in terms of body composition and insulin sensitivity.

Think of your muscles as a lot of little “gas tanks” that can store glucose. Because glucose from your food is mainly absorbed by your muscle tissue, resistance training (which builds muscle mass) is particularly good at improving blood sugars after meals. You don’t have to build bodybuilder-sized muscles to achieve this effect or even the amount of muscle mass I have. Any improvement from where you are now will help.

Resistance training, combined with proper nutrition, has also been shown to be the most effective combination for changing body composition and reducing overall body fat.1

If you’re new to resistance training start with body-weight exercises or resistance bands before progressing to using weights.

2.     Gain an understanding of nutrition and know what you eat

Being active is a great step toward a better health, but if you don’t eat according to your goals, you won’t get far. I often say that proper nutrition is 80% of the journey.

When it comes to proper nutrition for people living with type 1 diabetes, I don’t believe there is one approach that is the best for everyone. I always recommend eating a balanced diet, including low/medium glycemic carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats in amounts that support whatever your fitness and health goals are.
However, some foods will affect blood sugars more or less dramatically and I recommend that you spend some time learning how different food affects your blood sugar. Because even if you stick to low glycemic carbs, some might not work for you.

A great example is old-fashioned oats. They are generally considered a great carb source from a blood sugar perspective, but for some people, oats will make their blood sugar skyrocket. You have to learn what works for you through experimentation.

A good way of assessing if your current diet is right for your needs is to keep a food diary for a while. It can be very helpful in understanding your current diet and how they affect your mood, weight, and blood sugars. This includes measuring out portions and thereby (re)learning portion sizes and accurate carb counting.

3.     Track and learn

Aside from tracking your nutrition and potentially making tweaks, I highly recommend spending some time tracking and analyzing how your body reacts to other key variables.

Tracking the key variables in your health journey (such as exercise, food, stress, and sleep) and their impact on your blood sugar is the only way you’ll start seeing trends and learn to be as proactive as possible when it comes to blood sugar management.

For, ultimately, you can’t adjust to what you don’t know or understand, and it’s impossible to look for trends and patterns without data.

What I’ve found, with myself and the many people with T1D I’ve worked with over the years, is that when we start understanding how our bodies react to certain types of exercise and different foods, it becomes easier to reduce the amount of out-of-range blood sugar. It takes time and effort but putting in that work up front sets you up with less blood sugar related frustrations in the future.

4.     Do what you love

Although I just tried (hard) to convince you that resistance training is the way to go, that might not be the right thing for you. If you try it out (give it at least a month) and really don’t like it, do something else. For an exercise routine to be something you can adhere to, you must enjoy it at some level, or at least don’t hate it.

There are so many ways to exercise that you should be able to find something you like. If you prefer dancing, do that. Biking, running, swimming and walking are all great too.

I’ve also found that switching it up, for example, doing yoga one day and resistance training another can be really beneficial for body and mind. However, you’ll have to watch your blood sugar since different types of exercise will impact your blood sugar differently (read more about that here).


Getting your exercise regime and nutrition dialed in to fit your needs and goals is something that can and should take a little time. We can’t expect results overnight, especially since we have a few more variables to take into consideration that people who don’t have T1D do. But if you take your time and learn how your body reacts to exercise and your nutrition, you can start making small tweaks that will lead to better health and diabetes management in the long run.


1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28871849

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Gut Bacteria

Exploring the Impact of Gut Bacteria on Type 1 Diabetes Risk

Over the years, researchers have significantly improved their understanding of type 1 diabetes, but there are still many questions left unanswered. They still do not understand exactly why some people develop this condition and others do not, and there is still no cure.

A recent study is taking a closer look at the role gut bacteria plays as a risk or protective factor in the development of type 1 diabetes.  Scientists at Harvard Medical School studied mice who were bred to develop diabetes and altered their genetics and levels of gut bacteria.  Each mouse carried a gene variant that was shown in other studies to protect against diabetes.  During the first six weeks of their lives, the mice were given antibiotics, and the scientists believe that this disrupted the natural balance of gut bacteria reducing their protection against diabetes.  The mice showed inflammation of the pancreas, which often precedes type 1 diabetes.

However, they also found that those mice who inherited the protective gene from the mother were still resistant to diabetes, but those that received it from the father were not. This could be an important link between the protective abilities of gut microbiota and genetics passed between mother and baby.  But it is important to note that there are “significant physiological differences” between mice and humans according to Diane Mathis, lead author of the study and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Harvard Medical School.

Though more extensive research needs to be conducted, especially to determine how the results may correlate to humans, scientists believe that reducing exposure to antibiotics in newborns and pregnant women may be beneficial in reducing risk of type 1 diabetes or maintaining gene protection.

These types of studies are essential in advancing research to prevent and cure type 1 diabetes. The Diabetes Research Connection strives to provide early career scientists with the funding necessary to pursue innovative research for type 1 diabetes.   One hundred percent of research funds raised go directly to the scientists. To learn more about current projects or make a donation, visit https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.


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email banner innovative

Younger Scientists Gain More Support for Research Grants


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is incredibly well-known for its grant offerings to support innovative research. Over the years, it has funded millions of dollars’ worth of research initiatives. However, a recent finding by a professor of structural biology and an informatics researcher has uncovered a disturbing trend – many of the grants awarded by the NIH go to older principal investigators (PIs), and younger scientists are missing out.

According to their study, since 1982, PIs under age 46 have received fewer grants than older PIs. Many of the grants have been awarded to PIs over age 55. While there are committees in place that review proposals and determine who receives the grants, these committees are made up of grantees – many of whom happen to be older, since that has been the trend in awards. The study suggests that these committees may be more hesitant to award grants to younger PIs because they are young and have less experience.

However, the NIH is taking steps to change its processes and shift more grant awards toward younger PIs. They plan to put a cap on how many grants PIs can have at one time and already implemented a policy that examines age bias in awarding grants.

“This is why the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is an important source of funding for innovative research that, because of ‘its high-risk,’ is almost impossible to fund from traditional funding sources,” says President and Co-Founder Alberto Hayek, M.D.

Supporting early career scientists is one of the reasons the Diabetes Research Connection was initially founded. The organization focuses on connecting these researchers with funding to advance their studies and explore topics that may be considered too high-risk by other institutions. Through the DRC, scientists can receive up to $50,000 for research projects focused on preventing or curing type 1 diabetes, minimizing its complications, or improving quality of life for those living with type 1 diabetes.  One hundred percent of donations for research go directly to the scientists. To learn more about the Diabetes Research Connection and find out how you can support innovative research, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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noah barnes

11-year-old Pounds the Pavement for Type 1 Diabetes Research

Although our understanding of type 1 diabetes has improved greatly over the years, it is still a condition with no known cure. Individuals must still monitor their blood sugar day in and day out to ensure that it is at a safe level. This often involves the use of insulin, glucose tablets, and carefully tracked diet and exercise.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just 16 months old, Noah Barnes, now 11 years old, decided that he wanted to make a difference. He had watched a documentary about Terrance Fox, who raised awareness and funds to fight cancer by running across Canada even though he only had one leg. This inspired Noah’s goal to trek across the entire United States doing the same for type 1 diabetes.

He convinced his father, Robert Barnes, to join his cause, and the two of them set out from Florida at the beginning of the year to fight for a cause that is so close to their hearts.  Together they have walked day after day, not giving up.  As of the end of August, they had reached Utah, more than 2,000 miles from where they started.  They have gone through a combined nine pairs of shoes but have raised more than $22,000.  Their final destination is Blaine, Washington.  If they make it, they will join the ranks of just 267 others who have walked across the United States, and Noah will be the youngest to have completed this journey.

The father-son duo is determined to raise awareness and funds to one day find a cure for type 1 diabetes.  Even after their trek across the United States is finished, their mission is not. They’ll continue to fight for the cause and be advocates in other ways. Noah answered the call to be a Gamechanger from the Diabetes Research Connection. To support his goal and advance type 1 diabetes research, visit his Gamechanger page.

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Tips and Tricks for Managing Diabetes

Managing type 1 diabetes can be tricky. Everyone’s body is different and responds differently to certain types of activity and treatment. That is why it is so important to be vigilant about monitoring blood sugar and knowing how to respond quickly and appropriately. If you have a child with diabetes, you want to ensure that they know how to check their blood sugar, what the results mean, and how to respond if it is too low or too high. In addition, those who spend the most time with them – whether family, friends, educators, or coaches – should also know how to assist and provide help when necessary.

Be Prepared. One reader fills plastic pencil boxes with supplies her child may need at school and leaves one in each classroom. The box contains not only snacks and juice, but also glucose tablets and information on managing diabetes. Your child could also carry one in their backpack, or have one in the locker room. This is something that could be done at any age, and that adults can do as well. Consider leaving prepared boxes in your desk at work, the break room, or other places you frequent.

Plastic cases also come in handy for organizing supplies. One reader uses different colored boxes for different times of the day when preparing insulin syringes for the week. Just make sure that everything is clearly labeled as well. This can also be a good way of helping your child learn to manage their diabetes through color-coding.

Find what works for you. Not a fan of orange juice? Keep apple juice or grape juice on hand instead. Looking for a quick way to get your 14 grams of carbohydrates without taking a glucose tablet? Stock up on fun-size packs of Skittles which are perfectly proportioned and easy to grab and go. You could also prepare small baggies with four Starburst, 12 gummy bears, two tablespoons of raisins, or six large jelly beans. A small apple or orange work well too to quickly boost blood sugar.

Other hacks include adapting clothing to accommodate your insulin pump or finding accessories where you can easily store your supplies for quick access while working out or traveling. This way, you can continue carrying about your normal business while also effectively managing your diabetes and being prepared.

While there is not a cure yet for type 1 diabetes, scientists continue to learn more about this condition and develop cutting-edge treatment possibilities. The Diabetes Research Connection provides valuable funding that allows early career scientists to pursue research and trials that may one day change how type 1 diabetes is treated. Learn more by visiting us online and checking out current projects.

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gut microbiome

Is the Secret to Stopping Type 1 Diabetes in Your Gut?

Type 1 diabetes can be a challenging condition to manage. Because the body destroys insulin-producing beta cells, patients require regular blood glucose monitoring and use of insulin injections to stabilize their blood sugar levels. This differs from type 2 diabetes, which can in some cases be managed through targeted diet and exercise plans.

Changes in diet and lifestyle were previously thought to have little influence on type 1 diabetes because of the nature of the disease. It is not just that the body is not creating enough insulin, it is the fact that the body attacks and destroys the very cells that produce it.

However, new research is changing scientists’ understanding of type 1 diabetes and potential treatments. They have found that metabolites in the gut may help protect against type 1 diabetes. That means that changing one’s diet may make a difference. More specifically, adding whole foods that are high in fiber.

Researchers have been studying the effects of acetylated or butyrylated high-amylose maize starch on mice. Acetate and butyrate are short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that not only affect metabolism of glucose and cholesterol, but are also used for energy, immune tolerance to food antigens, increasing gut barrier function, and reducing inflammation. When mice were given acetate-infused water for five weeks, their incidence of type 1 diabetes was 30 percent lower than the control group – 40 percent versus 70 percent. After 10 weeks, the amount of immune cells that had infiltrated the pancreatic cells had decreased as well. The acetate water combined with acetylated or butyrylated high-amylose maize starch stopped the progression of type 1 diabetes in the mice.

SCFA supplementation is already being studied in clinical trials for gastrointestinal disorders and has shown positive results and no negative effects. Research will now expand to include SCFA supplementation for treatment of type 1 diabetes.

While typical foods do not contain acetylated or butyrylated high-amylose maize starch, they do contain regular maize starch, and that has been found to be effective as well.  Eating a diet rich in high-fiber foods can stimulate the production of acetate and butyrate in the colon, thus potential supporting gut health and reduced risk of type 1 diabetes.

Beneficial foods include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, beans, legumes, potatoes, rice, apples, oranges, bananas, cherries, and apricots. Just be sure to slowly introduce more fiber into the diet to allow the body time to adjust and reduce uncomfortable side effects such as stomach cramps or gas.

Using food for medicinal purposes is nothing new – it has been done for centuries. However, it is something that is often overlooked. These recent studies open doors to potential treatments and prevention methods for type 1 diabetes but require further research and testing. Organizations such as the Diabetes Research Connection support early career scientists in pursuing this type of work and advancing understanding and treatment of type 1 diabetes. Learn more and find out how you can support various projects at http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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cell regeneration

Cell Encapsulation Shows Potential for Treating Type 1 Diabetes

One of the challenges of treating type 1 diabetes is developing a process that will stimulate insulin production without triggering the body’s immune system to attack these cells. Many potential solutions have undesirable side effects, only short-term success, or still require immune system suppression, which can be hard on the body.

Current studies have been focused on the use of islet transplantation to help manage blood glucose levels. Researchers have been trying to determine the most effective location for islet transplantation, and how to reduce rejection and providing lasting results.  One approach that has shown great potential is using macro- or microencapsulation of islet cells. This provides a layer of protection for the cells while still allowing the exchange of oxygen, nutrients, glucose, and insulin. Scientists must determine the optimal thickness and composition of the encapsulation device to allow the cells to remain viable, protected from immune response, and effective at moderating blood glucose levels. Some mice have shown a positive response to use of macroencapsulation devices and human stem-cell-derived insulin-producing cells for managing diabetes.

This study has only been conducted using animals so far, therefore more research and testing is needed before it is approved for human trials or treatment. Cell replacement therapy has come a long way and appears to be an effective path toward treating and potentially curing type 1 diabetes in the future. The use of human stem-cell-derived insulin-producing cells may help overcome shortages of islet donations and allow more patients to receive cell replacement therapy for type 1 diabetes. You can learn more about this study here.

The Diabetes Research Connection supports ground-breaking research studies that show potential in improving treatment and prevention of type 1 diabetes. All funding goes directly to early-career scientists’ research projects allowing them to advance their investigations. Help support the future of diabetes research and the effort to find a cure by donating today.

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See our approved research projects and campaigns.

Role of the integrated stress response in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis
In individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the insulin-producing beta cells are spontaneously destroyed by their own immune system. The trigger that provokes the immune system to destroy the beta cells is unknown. However, accumulating evidence suggest that signals are perhaps first sent out by the stressed beta cells that eventually attracts the immune cells. Stressed cells adapt different stress mitigation systems as an adaptive response. However, when these adaptive responses go awry, it results in cell death. One of the stress response mechanisms, namely the integrated stress response (ISR) is activated under a variety of stressful stimuli to promote cell survival. However, when ISR is chronically activated, it can be damaging to the cells and can lead to cell death. The role of the ISR in the context of T1D is unknown. Therefore, in this DRC funded study, we propose to study the ISR in the beta cells to determine its role in propagating T1D.
Wearable Skin Fluorescence Imaging Patch for the Detection of Blood Glucose Level on an Engineered Skin Platform
A Potential Second Cure for T1D by Re-Educating the Patient’s Immune System
L Ferreira
Validating the Hypothesis to Cure T1D by Eliminating the Rejection of Cells From Another Person by Farming Beta Cells From a Patient’s Own Stem Cells
Han Zhu
Taming a Particularly Lethal Category of Cells May Reduce/Eliminate the Onset of T1D
JRDwyer 2022 Lab 1
Can the Inhibition of One Specific Body Gene Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?
Is Cholesterol Exacerbating T1D by Reducing the Functionality and Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells?
Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells
A Call to Question… Is T1D Caused by Dysfunctionality of Two Pancreatic Cells (β and α)?
Xin Tong
Novel therapy initiative with potential path to preventing T1D by targeting TWO components of T1D development (autoimmune response and beta-cell survival)
flavia pecanha