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diabetic Retinopathy

Asthma Medication May Help Treat Diabetic Retinopathy

A common complication associated with diabetes (T1D) is diabetic retinopathy. Poor blood sugar control can increase risk of this disease because it impacts the blood flow to the eye by blocking and damaging tiny blood vessels. It can eventually lead to blindness. Symptoms can be very mild and barely noticeable at first, so this is often a condition that is treated in later stages when the effects become more severe.

However, a recent study found that the administration of an FDA-approved asthma medication – montelukast, also known as Singulair – may help reduce damage to blood vessels and nerves in and around the eye. This indication has only been tested in mouse models so far, but because it is already an FDA-approved medication for use in children and adolescents, this may decrease the time it takes to shift into human clinical trials.

Researchers found that the medication suppresses inflammation enough to alter the signaling of inflammatory molecules and prevent pathology, but not enough to compromise the body’s innate immunity. If found effective in human trials, it could be used as a prevention method as well as to treat diabetic retinopathy in its early stages. This could be beneficial to children who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and even those who have been managing the disease for several years and are at risk for eye disease.

Though not involved with this study, the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see how it progresses and what findings show when used in human subjects. It is encouraging to see a potential new option for reducing risk of diabetic retinopathy and improving quality of life for individuals living with type 1 diabetes.

DRC supports early career scientists in pursuing novel, peer-reviewed research studies aimed at prevention, treatment, and an eventual cure for type 1 diabetes. To learn more about current projects and how to help, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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pumpkin cheesecake

Diabetic-Friendly Fall and Halloween Treats

The air is cool and crisp, the leaves are beginning to turn and we’re already halfway into October – fall is in full force!

With fall comes many great seasonal foods and treats – pumpkin pies, apple cider and halloween candy, to name a few. However, we know that with so many delicious treats available, it can be hard to choose the right foods to help manage your T1D, or to decide what to offer to your friends or family member with T1D.

Below we’ve rounded up our favorite diabetes-friendly treats and recipes for this season.

No Tricks, Just Treats for Those with T1D

Struggling to decide what to pass out to the adorable little ghosts and goblins who will be knocking on your door at the end of the month? T1D-friendly candies are a great option – in addition to being ideal for your diabetic neighbors, they tend to be healthier for kids in general, something every parent will appreciate.

Diabetic Living suggests offering some of the following T1D-friendly candy to your trick-or-treaters:

  • Fun-sized candy bars generally contain less sugar. Consider offering Kit Kat bars – these wafer-based chocolates have only 7 g sugar, 70 calories, 4 g fat and 9 g carb.
  • Almond M&Ms are a healthier choice than regular M&Ms, as the heart-healthy nut displaces some of the sugar-dense chocolate. One snack size bag will only set you back 10 g sugar, 110 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat and 12 g carb.
  • Dark Chocolate contains heart-healthy antioxidants, but some dark chocolates are better than others. The nuggets of Hershey’s Special Dark with Almonds Nuggets contains only 12 g sugar, 150 calories and 15 g carb.
  • Strawberry Twizzler Twists are the perfect combination of chewy, fruity and sweet. One twist contains 5 g sugar, 40 calories, 0 g fat and 9 g carb.
  • Jolly Ranchers are a great choice as far as hard candies go. Three pieces of these long-lasting sweet and sour treats will set you back 11 g sugar, 70 calories and 17 g carb.
  • Chocolate and Peanut Butter Treats are a classic at Halloween and year-round. Sugar-Free Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are a great option, as four treats contain 145 calories, 22 g carb and no sugar.

Delicious Fall Treats for Those With T1D and Those Without

As you’re gearing up for your next bonfire, football watch party, halloween party or other fall-themed gathering, consider bringing a delicious, diabetes-friendly fall dish.

If you’re responsible for bringing finger-foods, consider these fresh, healthy Touchdown Tortilla Wraps.

Recipe: Touchdown Tortilla Wraps

Taken from Diabetic Living.

touchdown tortilla wrap

[su_spoiler title=”View recipe for Touchdown Tortilla Wraps”]


  • 3 7- or 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1/2 8-ounce tub light cream cheese with chive and onion or roasted garlic
  • 18 – 24 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 7-ounce jar roasted red sweet peppers, well drained and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced cooked roast beef, ham, and/or turkey
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise dressing or light salad dressing


  1. Spread each tortilla with one-third of the cream cheese. Cover cream cheese with a layer of basil leaves, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange roasted red peppers on basil leaves. Top with sliced meat. Divide mayonnaise among tortillas, spreading over meat.
  2. Roll up each tortilla tightly into a spiral. Cut each tortilla roll in half crosswise. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill for up to 4 hours. Tote in an insulated cooler with ice packs. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Servings Per Recipe: 6
Per Serving: 135 cal., 6 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 24 mg chol., 186 mg sodium, 10 g carb. (1 g fiber, 2 g sugars), 8 g pro.
Diabetic Exchanges

Fat (d.e): 0.5; Lean Meat (d.e): 1; Starch (d.e): 0.5


When it comes time for a T1D-friendly dessert, we suggest this delicious no-bake pumpkin cheesecake.

Recipe: No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

Taken from Diabetic Living.

pumpkin cheesecake

[su_spoiler title=”View recipe for No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake”]


  • 1 recipe Graham Cracker Crust (see recipe below)
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 8 ounce tub light cream cheese
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 of an 8-ounce container frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
  • Frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)
  • Ground cinnamon, chopped toasted pecans, and/or pomegranate seeds** (optional)


  1. Prepare graham cracker crust (see below); set aside. In a small saucepan, stir together gelatin and the water; let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Cook and stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves; set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add pumpkin, sugar, the 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and the gelatin mixture; beat until well mixed. Fold in the three-quarters container of dessert topping. Spread mixture into crust in springform pan. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours or until set.
  3. Using a thin metal spatula or table knife, loosen the cheesecake from the side of the springform pan. If desired, use a wide spatula to remove cheesecake from bottom of pan and place on a serving plate. Cut into wedges to serve. If desired, top with additional whipped topping and garnish with additional cinnamon, chopped pecans, and/or pomegranate seeds**. Makes 14 servings.


  • *Sugar Substitutes: Choose from Splenda® Granular, Equal® Spoonful or packets, or Sweet ‘N Low® bulk or packets. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 2 tablespoons sugar for both crust and filling.
  • *Sugar Substitutes: PER SERVING WITH SUBSTITUTE: same as above, except 136 cal., 11 g carb.
  • **Test Kitchen Tip: To remove the seeds from a pomegranate, cut the pomegranate in half through the skin. Remove the peel and break the fruit into sections. Then separate the seeds from the membrane.
  • Tip: To toast nuts, spread in a shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden, shaking pan once or twice.

Graham Cracker Crust: Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers,
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine crushed graham crackers, canola oil, and sugar. Mix well. Spread evenly in bottom of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan; press firmly onto bottom. Bake for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Servings Per Recipe: 14
PER SERVING: 150 cal., 8 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 11 mg chol., 144 mg sodium, 14 g carb. (1 g fiber), 5 g pro.

Diabetic Exchanges

Other Carb (d.e): 1; Fat (d.e): 1.5


For more T1D-friendly recipes and foods, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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beer flight

Thank You For Attending The Brews & Blood Sugar Event

The Diabetes Research Connection and the diaTribe Foundation would like to thank everyone who attended the “Brews & Blood Sugar” event on Saturday, August 13, 2016 at the Stone Brewing Taproom in San Diego, CA.

Over 100 people sampled beer from one of San Diego’s premier breweries, learned how different varieties of beer affect blood sugar and supported efforts to find solutions for those with diabetes. Guests also enjoyed a special tribute to QUALCOMMLIFE.

Thank you to our sponsors: JDRF, Livongo, Profil Institute for Clinical Research, Tandem Diabetes Care and Gig Town. Without your support, the event would not have been possible. It was impressive to see all of the major players in diabetes together, working towards a common goal.

DRC is a nonprofit that connects donors with early-career scientists so that they can perform peer-reviewed, novel research in order to treat, cure and prevent type 1 diabetes. The diaTribe Foundation is a nonprofit committed to improving the lives of people with diabetes and prediabetes.

Brews & Blood Sugar


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Berries in wooden spoons

Fruity, Diabetic-Friendly Double Berry Pie Squares

There’s something special about eating a cool, sweet treat in the summer.

For those with type 1 diabetes, though, typical “summery” desserts such as ice cream can signal trouble, as they are often full of sugar, fat and artificial ingredients. Opting for a more nutritional option such as fruit is a great way to stay on track and keep your body healthy.

Make this summer just a little sweeter with these diabetic-friendly double berry pie squares. Consider bringing this healthy, fruity summer treat to your next cookout, pool party or family gathering.

Recipe: Double Berry Pie Squares

Taken from Diabetic Living.

Makes: 9 servings

Serving Size: 1 square and 1/2 tablespoon dessert topping
Carb Grams Per Serving: 25


  • 1/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1 12 – ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup finely crushed graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup frozen sugar-free whipped dessert topping, thawed


  1. For filling: In a large saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup sugar and the gelatin; add strawberries and raspberries. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until gelatin is dissolved and mixture is simmering.
  2. Transfer berry mixture to a shallow bowl. Chill about 45 minutes or until mixture begins to set up around the edges, stirring occasionally.
  3. For crust: Lightly coat a 2-quart square baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together finely crushed graham crackers, the 2 tablespoons sugar, and the melted butter. Press graham cracker mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Place in freezer while chilling filling.
  4. Carefully pour filling over the crust. Chill about 3 hours or until filling is completely set.
  5. Cut into squares to serve. Top with whipped dessert topping. Makes 9 servings (1 square and 1/2 tablespoon dessert topping per serving)


  • *Sugar Substitute: Choose from Splenda® Granular or Sweet’N Low® bulk or packets. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar.
  • *Sugar Substitute: PER SERVING WITH SUBSTITUTE: same as above, except 103 cal., 16 g carb. Exchanges: 0 other carb. Carb Choices: 1.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Servings Per Recipe: 9

PER SERVING: 138 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 7 mg chol., 80 mg sodium, 25 g carb. (4 g fiber, 15 g sugars), 2 g pro.

Diabetic Exchanges

Fruit (d.e): 1; Other Carb (d.e): 0.5; Fat (d.e): 1

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Insulin Patch

The Smart Insulin Patch: Replace Injections For Diabetic Patients?

Insulin PatchWritten by Brady Dennis on June 22, 2015, via Washington Post. Click here to read original article.

Researchers in North Carolina are developing a “smart” insulin patch that can automatically detect and manage blood sugar levels, an effort they hope might one day make painful, persistent insulin injections obsolete for millions of people with diabetes.

The patch is a thin square no larger than a penny. Its surface is covered in scores of “microneedles,” each about the size of an eyelash, which store both insulin and a glucose-sensing enzyme that can recognize increases in blood sugar. When that happens, the tiny needles can deliver the needed dose of insulin quickly and painlessly.

Researchers from a joint project at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University have tested the smart insulin patch only in mice so far. But the patch showed the ability to lower blood glucose levels in mice with Type 1 diabetes for up to nine hours, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This is way cool technology,” said John Buse, a co-author of the paper and director of the UNC Diabetes Care Center. “It’s very, very exciting, but very preliminary. It will take years to work out whether this actually will work well in humans. But if it did, it would be amazing.”

Diabetes affects nearly 350 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and that number is expected to continue to climb. Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Managing blood sugar levels for many people with diabetes is a constant chore, marked by finger pricks, insulin shots and monitoring of the diet. Even then, keeping glucose levels in check is an imprecise science with serious consequences if a patient receives too much or too little of the hormone. In particular, patients with rarer Type 1 diabetes, in which the body doesn’t produce the insulin needed to convert sugars and other food into useful energy, have to maintain a consistent watch on blood sugar levels. But even patients with Type 2 diabetes can find it hard to give themselves the proper dose of insulin.

“The hard thing is to take care of diabetes day after day after day,” Buse said. “It’s somewhere in between a hassle and straight up pain in the butt.”

Advances in technology have helped make the task easier over time. Researchers have tried to cut back on the potential for human error by developing “closed-loop” systems that connect devices that monitor blood sugar and administer insulin. But even those products require regular attention; they have mechanical sensors and pumps that can malfunction and needle-tipped catheters that must be replaced.

The idea behind the “smart” insulin patch, is to eliminate some of those headaches while emulating the body’s natural insulin generators, known as beta cells, which sense increases in blood sugar and trigger a release of insulin. When the patch is placed on the skin, researchers said, the microneedles painlessly pierce the surface and tap into the blood flowing through the capillaries.

In early tests, the researchers found that diabetic mice given injections of insulin saw their blood sugar levels normalize but then climb back into hyperglycemic range relatively quickly. Mice that received the insulin patch, however, saw glucose levels come under control in a half hour and stay that way for several hours.

In addition, researchers said they discovered that they could fine tune the patch to alter blood sugar levels within a certain desired range. That offers hope that the patch might one day be tailored to each patient. They also hope to develop a patch that eventually could work several days at a time for human patients.

“The whole system can be personalized to account for a diabetic’s weight and sensitivity to insulin,” Zhen Gu, a professor in the Joint UNC/NC State Department of Biomedical Engineering, said in a statement about the study. “So we could make the smart patch even smarter.”

Monday’s study was funded in part by awards from the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute and the American Diabetes Association.

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Child Getting Blood Pressure Checked

Children in UK: Alarming Rise in Type 1 Diabetes Among Youth

A substantially high numberChild Getting Blood Pressure Checked of children in the UK have been found to exhibit long-term health implications associated with type 1 diabetes, a report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) says.

It looked at figures from diabetes units across England and Wales in 2013-14 and found that more than 27 percent of young people had high blood pressure, while around 7 percent had markers of future kidney disease.

Over 14 percent had early signs of eye disease putting them at risk of blindness in later years.

More than 25 percent were classed as obese. Obesity is one of the risk factors for developing diabetes.

The analysis shows that 26,867 children and young people with diabetes were recorded last year, compared with 25,221 in 2012/13.

While the overall blood sugar control in the group has improved, just 16 percent underwent all seven annual health checks recommended to monitor their blood sugar control and complications, reports BBC.

With some patients showing early markers of eye, heart and kidney disease, the findings raise concern for their future health.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive, said there was evidence that children were experiencing problems with their eyesight or kidneys before they reached their 18th birthday.

She said: “There is an urgent need for the NHS to make the pace of improvement quicker.”

The data revealed more than 1,000 new cases recorded in people under-25 last year.

Dr Justin Warner, of the RCPCH, said: “This is the first time we have been able to collect and analyse the data on early warning signs and levels are higher than we would expect.”

Health implications
Type 1 diabetes that appears in childhood is caused by the immune system destroying cells in the pancreas, leading to high blood sugar levels.

The more common type 2 diabetes is largely due to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Persistently high blood sugar levels can lead to serious problems, including heart disease and kidney disorders.

The study also looked at type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 5 percent of all cases of diabetes in children and young people.

Similar rise in type 1 diabetes has been recorded by many other countries. The cause is not known, but it is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, says the World Health Organization.



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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