DRC & Research News

This page shares the latest news in T1D research and DRC’s community.

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Diabetes and Womens Reproductive Lifespan

Type 1 Diabetes May Impact Women’s Reproductive Lifespan

A woman’s reproductive stage lasts from the time of her first menstrual period (menarche) to her very last menstrual period (menopause). However, the body’s insulin production plays an integral part in this process. Without sufficient insulin, the reproductive timeframe may be cut short.

recent study compared the reproductive lifespan of women with and without type 1 diabetes (T1D). The results showed that women who were diagnosed with T1D prior to menarche were more likely to have a shorter reproductive period. They may have delayed onset of menses and experience menopause sooner than women without T1D due to insulin deficiency and incidences of hyperglycemia.

A shorter reproductive window may impact numerous aspects of health, including putting women at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and mortality. Recognizing risk factors and signs that a woman may experience early menopause may help medical professionals to be more proactive in addressing potential concerns and improving reproductive health.

More research is necessary to better understand the relationship between insulin deficiency and the reproductive lifespan to identify effective prevention strategies and treatment options to support women’s health and quality of life.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is committed to advancing research and understanding of T1D through providing critical funding to early-career scientists studying the disease. Research spans everything from diagnosis and prevention to treatment options and efforts to find a cure. Learn more about current projects and how to support these efforts by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

Thank you.

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Improved Diabetes Control

Blood Sugar Control for Type 1 Diabetes Improves During Lockdown

Type 1 diabetes is a condition that must be managed around the clock. Whether the individual is at home, work, school, practice, or out with friends, they must always be alert and aware of their blood glucose levels. This can be difficult when trying to balance a busy schedule.

recent study found that the March 2020 lockdown in the United Kingdom actually benefited type 1 diabetes management in children and teenagers. Staying home and not having to contend with the stresses and challenges of managing diabetes in other situations contributed to lower HbA1c levels and more time in target range. The study involved data from 180 participants and compared diabetes management over the course of three months before and three months after lockdown.

These findings may provide more insight into how to support youth with type 1 diabetes better and where to focus additional support, whether that be at school or in the community. This may help reduce the risk of long-term complications that can stem from poor diabetes management and fluctuating blood sugar.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see how this research may impact future strategies, support systems, and recommendations for managing type 1 diabetes. Though not involved with this study, the DRC is committed to supporting type 1 diabetes research by providing funding to early-career scientists pursuing novel, peer-reviewed studies focused on prevention, cure, and improved care. Learn more about current projects and how to support these efforts by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

Thank you.

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Diabetes and CGMs

A Push for Inpatient Use of Continuous Glucose Monitors

Many patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) use continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) while at home to track their blood glucose levels. These devices measure the amount of glucose in the interstitial fluid around the cells and transmit data to a receiver or smartphone app so that patients can see whether it is rising, falling, or staying steady. This can reduce the number of finger sticks they need to perform to check their blood sugar using more traditional methods.

Currently, CGMs are not approved for use in hospitals. Patients are often asked to remove them during inpatient care. However, with increased safety precautions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals have been temporarily permitted to use these devices. It allows them to monitor a patient’s blood glucose without going into their room and being in close contact. While there are concerns about data privacy using smartphone apps, standard receivers can transmit data within a close range.

Hospitals are now gathering and sharing data regarding the use of CGMs with patients with diabetes in order to support efforts for these devices to be permitted all the time, not just during a pandemic. Many patients who use CGMs show improved time in target range and fewer incidences of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, at least when used at home. Medical providers are trying to gather evidence of the same type of results when used in inpatient care.

There have been several challenges regarding how to create fair and ethical clinical studies regarding CGM use, but researchers are trying to navigate these obstacles and collect as much data as possible. Some challenges include creating appropriate control groups, managing accuracy, and calibration of devices, and accounting for stressors or medications that may affect results. It can be challenging to show outcomes using CGM versus not. There is also the fact that healthcare providers need to be trained on using this technology and the data available properly.

Small studies have produced some positive results so far, and researchers are hoping to develop more extensive trials for more data to continue to track outcomes. They hope to eventually gain FDA approval for the use of CGMs in hospitals all the time to support patients with diabetes. This could be one more tool to enhance the quality of care and better manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Though not involved with this study, the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is excited to see how this initiative unfolds and whether CGMs are eventually approved for hospital use. Researchers are working every day to improve their understanding of diabetes and treatment/management of the disease. This is one more component of the ever-growing body of knowledge and available options for care.

The DRC provides critical funding to early-career scientists pursuing novel research studies around type 1 diabetes. To learn more and support these efforts, visit https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

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Diabetes and Exercise

Discussing Diabetes with DRC’s T1Ds: Blog Post 3 of Series 2

I used to hate exercising. It made my blood glucose difficult to control: one moment my levels would be rising rapidly, and then they would plummet. When I played beach volleyball, it was extremely frustrating to have to stop games so I could scarf down a candy bar or give myself insulin. It was physically and mentally draining. As Ginger Vieira mentions in her article, “5 Tips for Exercise with Type 1,” working out with type 1 diabetes can be difficult–but, with self-study and a little bit more effort, you can learn how to workout efficiently and safely. Over the last few years, I have been studying my body, seeing how it reacts to different types of exercises, workout times, and pre-workout foods. Now, I am the type of person who wakes up excited to exercise. Crazy, right? 

Ginger’s first tip is to “understand what exercise you are doing.” Different exercises use fuel in different ways, and this impacts blood glucose levels. For example, when I bike or run, my blood sugar levels will suddenly plummet. As Ginger says, your body uses glucose for fuel during cardiovascular or aerobic exercises. Sometimes I will start my workout at 300 and end it at 60. Before an intense cardio day, I make sure my blood glucose levels are a little bit higher (but not too much, around 160).  I also make sure not to give insulin too close to when I workout. On the other hand, strength training makes my blood glucose rise, so I try to make sure my levels are a bit lower (around 120) before I do any sort of weight lifting. This falls under Ginger’s second tip, which is to “control as many variables as possible.” Starting the workout with in-range blood sugar is the best way to ensure a safe workout. I highly recommend wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor while working out, so you do not have to stop your workout to check your blood glucose levels. 

When you get low blood sugar before, during, or after a workout, the food you use to treat it is very important. As Ginger mentions in tip number three, eating a peanut butter sandwich will raise your blood sugar at a much slower rate than a glucose tablet because the fat in the peanut butter slows down the digestion rate. If you’re like me, then you get pretty frustrated when your blood glucose levels are not rising fast enough after a low. I always have a packet of fruit snacks next to me while I workout, so I can eat them quickly if my blood glucose levels drop. 

In tip number four, Ginger recommends having a notebook where you can write notes about what does and does not work for your body during exercise. You can write down your blood glucose levels before and after the workout, what type of exercises you did, and how you felt. I am not quite organized enough for this, so I try to remember what routine works best for me. For example, I know that I cannot drink coffee before a workout, because it makes my blood glucose levels rise quickly. 

I used to workout a few hours after breakfast, and I ended up always going low because my insulin sensitivity would increase during my exercise, and my insulin dosage from breakfast would peak at the same time. Then, I started working out first thing in the morning, and I did not have that problem anymore. Ginger’s final tip is to “try exercising first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach.” This has helped me considerably in keeping my blood sugars in an appropriate range. However, I also sometimes struggle from the dawn phenomenon (if you’re unfamiliar, this is when your blood glucose levels rise abnormally in the very early morning), so sometimes my blood glucose is high in the morning, and I still have to give a small amount of insulin before exercising.

Working out with type 1 is all about maintaining a delicate balance. It’s important to listen to your body: sometimes working out extremely hard can feel very similar to having low blood sugar. However, type 1 is in no way a limit to athletic ability: some of the most famous athletes are type 1 diabetics. So, lace up those shoes and grab those earphones: it’s time to move. 

This blog was written by Lauren Grove, DRC Intern, who has had T1D for 15 years and is responding to the article, “5 Tips for Exercise with Type 1.”

Lauren Grove

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Grove Sisters

Double Trouble: A Tale of Two T1D Sisters

There are certain attributes siblings commonly share: maybe it’s a similar eye color, or smile, or a love for the same type of music. For my sister, Kyra, and me, we both have long hair and freckles on our nose. However, we have another similarity that you can’t see when you meet us: we both have the same chronic illness. 

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was five years old, and I have had the disease for about 15 years now. For a while, my parents thought my symptoms were a sign of the flu, not diabetes, so my condition was pretty severe by the time I was diagnosed. I had to be hospitalized for about three days, hooked up to an IV bag of insulin and hydrating liquids. I was so young, the experience is now a hyperglycemia-blurred memory. I remember being brought a huge Hello Kitty stuffed animal, watching episode after episode of Disney Channel shows, and being poked and prodded by nurses. I watched my mother inject an orange with a needle next to my hospital bed, knowing that the orange would soon be my arm. 

Kyra, who was nine at that time, walked with me through the hospital halls every afternoon. She would make jokes about “breaking me out of this joint,” as if I was a prisoner and she was a visitor (three days at that age felt like a lifetime). Little did we know that, five years later, Kyra was going to be in the exact same hospital, receiving her type 1 diabetes diagnosis as well. 

Since I am four years younger than Kyra, most of my young life had involved listening to her. I was excited that it was finally my turn to teach her. I helped her learn how to inject herself, how to calculate carbohydrate counts, how to know when she had low or high blood sugar. Although having type 1 diabetes is never fun, having someone that can relate to your daily struggles is extremely helpful. We have been next to each other in every step of our type 1 diabetic journey. We try out different diabetic technologies, so that we can help each other find the best ones. When we are out and one of us gets low blood sugar, the other one offers a packet of fruit gummies. We cry together when we fall into diabetic burnout and celebrate together when we reach our goal hemoglobin A1C. 

However, Kyra and I have still had very different experiences with our illnesses. My blood glucose levels tend to be much more sensitive to any amount of carbohydrates, while Kyra can eat a small amount of carbs and her levels don’t budge. She uses a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) and an Omnipod, and I only started consistently using a CGM within the last few months (I’m more old school with my treatment). I got diagnosed when I was very young, while Kyra was diagnosed when she was a teenager. I had to understand nutritional labels before learning how to read a book. Kyra had to traverse having a new chronic illness while at an age which is universally considered the “awkward stage.” 

Although type 1 diabetes does not define me nor my sister, it has definitely shaped the way we see the world, our interests, and our future goals. Having type 1 diabetes gives you experiences and exposure to things that a child wouldn’t normally have at a young age. I knew what the words “pancreas,” “insulin,” and “endocrinology” meant before I even knew how to spell my name. Not surprisingly, both Kyra and I have been interested in getting involved with the rapidly evolving world of type 1 diabetic research. We have both worked for Diabetes Research Connection, which has allowed us to see the behind-the-scenes of ground-breaking diabetic research. In my first year of working for DRC, I even got to visit a research lab and watch DRC-funded scientists inject stem cells into a zebrafish. 

Kyra and I have never let type 1 diabetes limit us in our goals– in fact, I think type 1 diabetes has encouraged us to challenge ourselves. Kyra recently graduated from UC Berkeley and is currently studying for the MCAT to apply to medical school, with hopes of becoming a physician. I am a sophomore at Stanford University, studying psychology, with the hope of someday attending law school.  I am also a strong advocate for diabetic mental health. Kyra and I are type 1 diabetics, but we are also a future doctor, a future lawyer, sisters, and best friends. 

I don’t know what I would do without my sister. Unfortunately, I know that there are many people with type 1 diabetes who don’t have someone in their life who understands what they’re going through. Online type 1 diabetic support groups are a great option for anyone struggling to find a community. It is crucial to have just one person who will listen to you when you are feeling down, who will help you in need, and who will remind you that you are so strong for dealing with this disease. I found that in my sister, and I know my sister found that in me. As I navigate my diabetic journey, I feel incredibly lucky to have a companion along the way.

This blog was written by Lauren Grove, DRC Intern, who has had T1D for 15 years and is describing her and her sister’s experience living with type 1 diabetes.

Lauren Grove

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Feedback Superstar

Feedback Superstar Shout Out!

Reach Supsterstar Status, Like Megan

“Interning at DRC has been an amazing opportunity, allowing me to take my part in helping the T1D community and supporting the research being done in the fight against T1D. The most recent campaign taught me that by just taking 30-seconds of your time, you can help raise money for a cause you are passionate about. Express Feedback for Good is very user-friendly and interesting. It’s so easy to participate in! You just type in the url or text the code to get the link to the site. Once on the website, all you do is simply leave reviews. There are so many different everyday brands/businesses like Starbucks and Macy’s, that you can leave reviews about, so it wasn’t hard to reach 75 feedbacks. The different emojis made it quick and straightforward. This was a fun way to raise money without spending money for an excellent cause – type 1 diabetes research!”

Megan Kleiman is a Senior at Cal State San Marcos majoring in Human Development with an emphasis in Health Sciences. She hopes to one day become a nurse so that she can help as many people that she can and make a lasting impact in the world. Megan generated $75 for DRC by participating in Express Feedback for Good.

At the end of the campaign on May 4th, every participant who has given 75 pieces of feedback will be entered into a raffle. Three winners will be selected to win $25 gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, or Home Depot! Additionally, you will be entered into another raffle to virtually meet one of your early-career scientists! 

Do you want to generate support without spending for DRC? If so, click here to learn more!

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Type 1 Diabetes Treatment

Repurposing Existing Drugs for Potential Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is one of many autoimmune disorders that exist. In this particular disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells, leaving the body unable to regulate blood glucose levels effectively. Many researchers have been focused on the immune system and how these diseases may develop when it comes to autoimmune disorders.

But a recent study found that expanding the focus to look at other contributing factors, such as genetics and cell signaling, may help treat and potentially curing conditions such as type 1 diabetes (T1D). Dr. Decio Eizirik, M.D., Ph.D., Scientific Director for Indiana Biosciences Research Institute Diabetes Center, published findings of a study on candidate genes, target tissue, and the cellular dialogue between the two.

His team evaluated gene expression for four autoimmune diseases, including T1D, and found that a commonality between them was that “more than 85% of the candidate genes for each disease are expressed at the target tissue level.” More specifically, they zeroed in on the TYK2 enzyme, which plays an integral role in controlling immune and inflammatory signaling pathways and cell response. Reducing TYK2 response may help to protect cells against the destruction that can lead to T1D.

There are already several TYK2-inhibitor drugs on the market that the FDA has approved to treat other autoimmune disorders. Dr. Eizirik is interested in seeing whether they may serve as an effective treatment option for T1D to potentially stop the disease before it develops in individuals identified as high-risk.

There are nearly 1.6 million Americans currently living with T1D, and these numbers have only continued to increase over recent years. Finding potential treatment options and preventive measures could positively impact disease progression and diagnosis in the future. Dr. Eizirik is excited about the international collaboration that has been occurring between scientists and the sharing of data to support research initiatives.

While additional studies are needed to determine whether TYK2 inhibitors effectively prevent or treat T1D, this research is a step in the right direction toward opening new doors and stimulating more research opportunities. The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested in what role this information may play in future T1D treatment.

The DRC, though not involved in this study, is dedicated to supporting T1D research through providing funding for early-career scientists to pursue novel research studies. To learn more about current projects or how to donate, visit https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

Thank you.

Learn More +


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