BEIJING — A common rheumatoid arthritis drug may be an effective new therapy for lowering blood glucose levels in patients with Type-2 diabetes, a new study has said.
Researchers from the Institute of Comparative Medicine at Yangzhou University in China have discovered that the anti-inflammatory drug leflunomide has highly beneficial effects on diabetes sufferers. And, the findings could offer an exciting alternative to current treatments for Type 2 diabetes.
“We found that lefluonomide targets a protein involved in desensitising the insulin receptor, which is responsible for instructing the cells to start absorbing sugar from the bloodstream”, Xiulong Xu, Professor at the Institute of Comparative Medicine at Yangzhou University in China, said in a paper published in the Journal of Endocrinology.
“We know some inflammatory factors can also desensitise the insulin receptor, and lefluonamide is an anti-inflammatory, so it may be that it controls blood sugar partly by its anti-inflammatory effect,” Xu said.
Researchers said the findings suggested the same therapy could now be introduced as an effective anti-diabetic treatment for humans. They said it would be particularly suitable for patients with both diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis, affecting approximately one per cent of the worldwide population, is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints.
The anti-inflammatory drug, lefluonamide, lowered blood glucose levels and reversed insulin resistance in mouse models of Type 2 diabetes, which suggests that this therapy could be repurposed as an effective antidiabetic treatment, particularly suitable for patients with both diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Lefluonamide has long been approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis and previous clinical studies have noted that patients taking the drug tended to have lower blood glucose levels and that obese patients lost weight.
However, lefluonomide also acts on other molecular targets in the body. This suggests that more studies are needed to confirm that the anti-diabetic effects observed are solely caused by lefluonamide’s effect on the insulin receptor.
The next step according to Xu is to conduct clinical trials to test if the antidiabetic effect of lefluonamide also occurs in humans as well as mice.
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Regular bedtime beneficial for heart and metabolic health among older adults
KATHMANDU — Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But a new study on sleep patterns has suggested that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important for heart and metabolic health among older adults too.
Researchers at Duke Health and the Duke Clinical Research Institute, in a study of 1,978 older adults, have found that people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years than those who slept and woke at the same times every day.
The study was published Sept 21 in the journal Scientific Reports.
“From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep,” said study’s lead author Jessica Lunsford-Avery.
“Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other.”
African-Americans had the most irregular sleep patterns compared to participants who were white, Chinese-American or Hispanic, the data showed.
Still, the data suggest tracking sleep regularity could help identify people at risk of disease, and where health disparities may impact specific groups.
Irregular sleepers were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, both of which are tied to heart health.Follow @gorkhapost