DRC & Research News

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

Get the most recent diabetes research news, delivered straight to your inbox

Sleep Disturbances with Type 1 Diabetes

Sleep Disturbances Common with T1D

Type 1 diabetes is a disease that must be monitored around the clock. When children are awake, it is easier to tell when blood sugar may be spiking too high or dropping too low. At night, this is more challenging, and it is essential to continue testing blood sugar levels to stay within the target range and administer insulin as necessary.

Children typically rely on their parents to manage their diabetes and monitor blood sugar, whether done manually or through a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A recent study found that children who use a CGM often sleep better at night, but it is their parents who have more disturbances in their sleep due to reacting to CGM data.

As part of a larger study, researchers evaluated the sleep quality of 46 parents of children with type 1 diabetes. The children were between the ages of 2 and 5, and some used CGMs while others did not. Parents reported on the time their children went to bed, woke up, and how long they slept. The average was 10.4 hours per night. Also, all 11 families who used CGMs wore accelerometers that tracked their sleep patterns for a minimum of four nights. The accelerometer showed an average of 9.8 hours of sleep per night for children.

According to the study, “Among the full cohort, 63% of parents reported checking their child’s blood glucose levels at least a few nights per week. Parents of children using CGMs reported a higher frequency of nighttime blood glucose monitoring compared with parents of children without a CGM.”

The percentage of parents who experienced sleep disturbances concerning blood glucose monitoring was noticeably higher than the percentage of children, at 78.3% and 17% respectively. Parents of children with CGMs reported higher levels of sleep disturbance, especially when the child’s diabetes was more difficult to manage. Additional research with a larger group of participants across a longer period of time is necessary to better understand the impact of diabetes management on sleep for parents and children.

It is important for physicians to keep in mind not just the impact a CGM or other device could have on the child’s health and quality of life, but also on the parent. Parents benefit from having proper support systems in place and information to help them cope with the challenges of managing their child’s type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes Research Connection, though not involved in this study, is committed to supporting early-career scientists focused on studying type 1 diabetes and ways to improve prevention, treatment, and quality of life, as well as one day finding a cure. One hundred percent of donations go directly to the scientists for their research. To learn more about current projects and how to help, visit https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

Learn More +

Could Higher-Dose and Lower-Dose Insulin Glargine be Equally Effective in Managing Type 1 Diabetes?

In an effort to maintain greater blood-glucose stability throughout the day and minimize highs and lows, some individuals with type 1 diabetes use insulin glargine, which is a once-a-day, long-acting insulin. It is an analogue, or laboratory-created, insulin which has been modified to act more uniformly in managing glucose levels.

Insulin glargine comes in varying strengths, and a recent study found that there were no significant differences in safety or effectiveness between insulin glargine 100 U/mL and insulin glargine 300 U/mL when administered in children and adolescents. Data from 463 EDITION JUNIOR study participants between the ages of 6 and 17 were compared over 26 weeks. Of those participants, 233 were randomly assigned to insulin glargine 300 U/mL, and 228 were randomly assigned to insulin glargine 100 U/mL. Both groups continued to follow their normal routine for mealtime insulin but injected insulin glargine once per day.

Results showed that all participants experienced a reduction in HbA1c levels over the 26 weeks. However, there were fewer instances of severe hypoglycemia among participants using the insulin glargine 300 U/mL, though overall, results were comparable between groups. Both insulins were effective in achieving target study endpoints and did not demonstrate any unexpected safety concerns.

In comparing insulin glargine 100 U/mL and insulin glargine 300 U/mL, researchers may be able to use insulin glargine 300 U/mL as yet another treatment option for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. It is currently under review by the FDA, and researchers are evaluating data from a six-month safety follow-up.

It is encouraging to see that more options are being explored to meet the needs of individuals living with type 1 diabetes in order to maintain target glucose levels with fewer fluctuations. Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) will continue to follow these types of studies to see how they impact the future of diabetes management and accessibility to care.

DRC provides critical funding for early career scientists pursuing novel, peer-reviewed research studies for type 1 diabetes. Projects aim to improve prevention and treatment of the disease, as well as enhance quality of life and eventually find a cure. To learn more about current studies and support these efforts, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

Learn More +

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.

Learn More +

Structured Mealtime Routines May Help Manage HbA1c Levels in Young Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Managing type 1 diabetes (T1D) can be challenging for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for parents of young children with the disease. They must carefully monitor their child’s diet and activity while regularly checking blood glucose levels. A recent study has found that those children who receive preprandial insulin and eat on a regular schedule tend to have improved HbA1c levels.

Researchers analyzed data from 22 Australian children age seven or younger. Their parents tracked the exact amounts and types of food and beverages offered and consumed by their children over a three-day period. They also answered 16 questions regarding mealtime routines and their child’s eating patterns, such as whether they grazed throughout the day or had set snack times and meal times. In addition, it asked about use of preprandial insulin.

The study found that 95% of children used preprandial insulin, and all children ate at least three meals per day. For 81% of children, their parent determined when they were offered food, but the other 19% followed child-led eating patterns. While there was no direct correlation between carbohydrate, protein, or fat intake on HbA1c, researchers did note that HbA1c levels were lower in those children who ate at regular mealtimes as opposed to grazing throughout the day.

Another interesting note was that the children with T1D ate similar diets as those children without the disease. Furthermore, none of the children in the study met the daily recommended vegetable intake, and only 28% ate recommended amounts of lean meats and protein. Additional research is necessary to evaluate the impact of diet quality on diabetes management.

It is these types of studies that provide further insight into improving management of type 1 diabetes. The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) provides early career scientists with up to $75K in funding to support peer-reviewed, novel research studies focused on prevention, treatment, and management of type 1 diabetes as well as working toward a cure. To learn more and donate to current projects, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

Learn More +

Gestational Diabetes May Increase Risk of Type 1 Diabetes in Children

Over the years, researchers have identified a variety of potential risk factors and triggers for the development of type 1 diabetes. While they know that diabetes risk runs in families – having a parent with T1D puts children at increased risk – a recent study found that gestational diabetes may also be a risk factor. Women who develop gestational diabetes do not usually have a history of the disease, and it often resolves once they have given birth.

However, the development of this condition may put their offspring at greater risk for T1D.  The study found that when mothers had gestational diabetes, children were twice as likely to develop diabetes by age 22 than those children born to mothers without gestational diabetes. A limitation of the study was that it was unknown whether children were diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, though type 1 is more common in children.

The study involved 73,180 groups of mothers, fathers, and offspring who live in Quebec, Canada. If there was a previous history of diabetes, heart failure, or cardiovascular disease in either parent, the group was excluded from the study. Factors such as the mother’s gestational age and other maternal demographics were also adjusted for when analyzing risk and results.

Understanding the potential risk may help parents to be more alert to potential signs of diabetes in their children such as abnormal thirst, frequent urination, unusual weight loss, or fatigue if the mother experienced gestational diabetes. This can allow children to be tested and diagnosed sooner so that they can better manage their health.

Additional research is needed to address limitations of this study and also to further explore the severity of the disease in children born to a mother with gestational diabetes versus those who were not. Researchers are unclear at this point whether there is any significant difference.

It is these types of studies that stimulate new research and questions in regard to type 1 diabetes. The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) strives to provide critical funding for early career scientists so that they can carry out research related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of T1D, as well as improving quality of life for those living with the disease. To learn more about current projects and support these endeavors, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

 

Learn More +

Nasal Glucagon May Become New Option for Treating Hypoglycemia

When blood sugar drops and hypoglycemia occurs, it is critical for individuals with type 1 diabetes to receive immediate treatment to raise their blood sugar. If left untreated, it can lead to severe confusion, seizures, or even loss of consciousness. One of the main ways of treating hypoglycemia is administering glucagon.

Glucagon is a hormone that stimulates the body to convert glycogen into glucose. It also keeps the liver from consuming too much glucose so that it can be circulated in the bloodstream instead. Traditionally, glucagon is delivered through an intramuscular injection. A solution is mixed to dissolve the glucagon, then it is administered by syringe.

However, many caregivers – or even bystanders – may be hesitant to give someone else a shot of glucagon. Preparing the syringe and shot is a multistep process and can be confusing if the person is not properly trained. Plus, they are under considerable stress in emergency situations where it must be given, which can complicate things even further.

A new study has found that nasal glucagon may be just as effective as intramuscular glucagon in raising blood sugar levels during episodes of hypoglycemia. There is no preparation necessary before administering the medication. It is a powder that comes in a single-use device that is sprayed up the nose. It isn’t even necessary for the patient to inhale because the powder is absorbed on its own.

Both treatment methods were tested on 70 adult participants with type 1 diabetes. A state of hypoglycemia was induced, and then they were treated with either the intramuscular or nasal glucagon. One to seven days later, the process was repeated, and the other form of medication was administered. In 100 percent of cases, hypoglycemia was reversed and participants had no serious adverse events. In 97 percent of cases, treatment success was achieved within 15 minutes.

This new treatment option was presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) by Leona Plum-Moerschel, MD, of Profil Mainz, Germany. According to Plum-Moerschel, “I think we can all agree that the safety profile is very much acceptable for an emergency treatment. I personally would expect that, due to its simplicity of use, nasal glucagon will create a greater community who can render quick aid in a rescue situation.”

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see if this nasal formulation will be brought to market and how it will affect the treatment of hypoglycemia in children and adults. It is encouraging to see treatment options becoming more user-friendly so that even non-medical personnel can effectively administer emergency medications.

The DRC supports research geared toward the treatment and prevention of type 1 diabetes, as well as improvement of quality of life for those living with the disease. Access to funding is essential for scientists to continue advancing their research, and the DRC provides these types of resources. To learn more about current projects and donate to support these efforts, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

Learn More +

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”]

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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

[/su_spoiler]

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”]

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  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.

Tip

  • *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

Directions

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

[/su_spoiler]

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

Learn More +

Traffic-Related Air Pollution Linked to Type 1 Diabetes in Children

Several studiesTraffic- Air Pollution have already linked the likelihood of death by respiratory and circulatory illness to the level of fine dust particles present in the air. A Munich study now shows that high levels of fine dust pollution could possibly increase the risk of type 1 diabetes among children.

Fine dust pollution leads to earlier instances of type 1 diabetes in small children, according to a study by the Institute for Diabetes Research at the Helmholtz Centre in Munich. Environmental factors, the researchers found, also have an effect on the development of the illness.

“Our results indicate that exposure to traffic-related pollutants accelerates the development of type 1 diabetes…”

“Our results indicate that exposure to traffic-related pollutants accelerates the development of type 1 diabetes,” the authors of the study, Andreas Beyerlein, Miriam Krasmann and their colleagues indicated. But their data suggests this result only applies to very young children.

The researchers analysed data from 671 young patients with type 1 diabetes, recorded between April 2009 and May 2013 in the Bavarian diabetes register DiMelli (Diabetes Incidence Cohort Registry).

The focus of the analysis was to compare the time of diagnosis in small children with contact to certain air pollutants around their homes. Blood samples from patients were also tested for various inflammatory markers at the time of diagnosis.

During the analysis, the researchers also took other factors into consideration, such as the history of diabetes in a child’s family, the education level of parents and a child’s body mass index.

Air pollution from exhaust emissions increase risk in urban areas.

The researchers found that small children from residential environments with high levels of ambient air pollution developed type 1 diabetes three years earlier on average than children in the same age group from areas with low levels of pollution.

The correlation was found for concentrations of fine dust particles with an aerodynamic diameter of <10µm and nitrogen dioxide. Both substances are categorised as traffic-related pollutants.

Further, the researchers consider it unlikely that other typical occurrences related to city life could also be contributing to the correlation between diabetes and place of residence.

“Our results were independent from the level of urbanisation in the areas analysed,” the researchers said. This indicates that pollutants are responsible for the correlation observed and not a different lifestyle in cities or higher temperatures in urban areas.

Type 1 diabetes is the most common chronic illness in children and youth. 65,000 new cases are diagnosed worldwide each year, with an estimated 3% annual rate of increase. In Germany alone, 2,100 to 2,300 new cases are registered annually among children and teens up to 14 years of age.

Studies indicate a yearly 3-4% increase in the rate of new cases for type 1 diabetes. Now, the Helmholtz Centre study suggests a correlation between the increase in new cases and growing urbanisation.

Air pollution poses biggest environment-related health risk.

The fact that smog and traffic-related air pollution considerably increase the risk for numerous diseases, including cancer, lung diseases as well as heart and circulatory conditions, is nothing new. The European Environment Agency (EEA) presented its progress report in early March.

According to the agency, fine particulates in the air are to blame for around 430,000 premature deaths in the European Union. Despite measures to introduce a driving ban, and stricter guidelines for industry, the report does not consider the danger to be over.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies air pollution as the largest environment-related health risk worldwide and estimates the number of deaths due to air pollution at 7 million per year.

In 2013, the US Environmental Protection Agency responded to the dramatic increase in evidence of adverse health effects related to fine dust particles by adjusting threshold values for the pollutants. The long-term threshold values for respirable fine dust particles with an aerodynamic diameter under 2.5µm was decreased from 15 to 12 µg per cubic metre. In the EU, the roughly comparable value is currently still at 25µg per cubic metre.

In Germany, especially large episodes of smog have become a rare occurrence. Still, the country’s limit values for air quality are often exceeded. Though filtration of more coarse particles has been mostly effective, the amount of smaller, respirable particles – so-called fine dust particles – in emissions has increased. The main sources of fine dust particles are industry, furnace heating, motors and agriculture.

 

Learn More +

Unlimited access to all the essential project updates latest diabetes research news, and more.