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Overspill of fat shown to cause Type 2 diabetes: Study

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London, Dec 22 Researchers have been able to observe people developing Type 2 diabetes – and confirmed that fat over-spills from the liver into the pancreas, triggering the chronic condition.

“We saw that when a person accumulates too much fat, which should be stored under the skin, then it has to go elsewhere in the body. The amount that can be stored under the skin varies from person to person, indicating a ‘personal fat threshold’ above which fat can cause mischief, said study lead author Roy Taylor from Newcastle University in UK.

The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, involved a group of people from Tyneside, who previously had Type 2 diabetes but had lost weight and successfully reversed the condition as part of the DiRECT trial, which was funded by Diabetes UK.

After two years, more than one third of the group had been free of diabetes and off all diabetes medication for at least two years.

Although the majority remained non-diabetic for the rest of the two year study, however, a small group went on to regain weight and re-developed Type 2 diabetes.

“When fat cannot be safely stored under the skin, it is then stored inside the liver, and over-spills to the rest of the body including the pancreas. This ‘clogs up’ the pancreas, switching off the genes which direct how insulin should effectively be produced, and this causes Type 2 diabetes,” Taylor said.

According to the researchers, this study confirms that Type 2 diabetes is caused by excess fat actually within both the liver and pancreas, and especially that this process is reversible.

This new study builds on previous Newcastle research supported by Diabetes UK showing exactly why Type 2 diabetes can be reversed back to normal glucose control.

Those studies led to the large DiRECT trial which showed that primary care staff can achieve remission of Type 2 diabetes by using a low calorie diet with support to maintain the weight loss.

A quarter of participants achieved a staggering 15 kg or more weight loss, and of these, almost nine out of 10 people put their Type 2 diabetes into remission.

“This means we can now see Type 2 diabetes as a simple condition where the individual has accumulated more fat than they can cope with,” Taylor said.

“Importantly this means that through diet and persistence, patients are able to lose the fat and potentially reverse their diabetes. The sooner this is done after diagnosis, the more likely it is that remission can be achieved,” Taylor added.

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COVID-19: WHO recommends 10 basic preventive measures

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Geneva, Feb 29 : The World Health Organisation (WHO) has outlined 10 basic personal prevention measures against COVID-19, including cleaning hands and surfaces regularly and avoiding travelling when having a fever or cough.

“Your risk depends on where you live, your age and general health. WHO can provide general guidance. You should also follow your national guidance and consult local health professionals,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Friday.

  • The first of the 10 measures is to clean hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand rub, or wash them with soap and water. Touching the face after touching contaminated surfaces or sick people is one of the ways the virus can be transmitted. By cleaning the hands, one can reduce the risk.
  • Second, clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant, for example kitchen benches and work desks.
  • Third, educate oneself about COVID-19, but make sure the information comes from reliable sources such as local or national public health agencies, the WHO website, or local health professionals. The symptoms, for most people, start with a fever and a dry cough instead of a runny nose. Most people will have mild disease and get better without needing any special care.
  • Fourth, avoid travelling when having a fever or cough, and when becoming sick while on a flight, inform the crew immediately. Once home, make contact with a health professional.
  • Fifth, cough or sneeze into sleeves or use a tissue which should be disposed immediately into a closed rubbish bin, and then clean hands.
  • Sixth, those who are over 60 years old or having an underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, a respiratory condition or diabetes, the risk of developing severe disease could be higher. Take extra precautions to avoid crowded areas or places where interaction with people who are sick is possible.
  • Seventh, everyone who feels unwell should stay at home and call doctors or local health professionals who will ask about the symptoms, where one has been and who one has had contact with. This will help to make sure that one gets the right advice, is directed to the right health facility, and will prevent from infecting others.
  • Eighth, stay at home when being sick, and eat and sleep separately from family members, use different utensils and cutlery to eat.
  • Ninth, if shortness of breath appears, call doctors and seek care immediately.
  • And tenth, it’s normal and understandable to feel anxious, especially when living in a country or community that has been affected. Find out what can be done in the community. Discuss how to stay safe with the workplace, school or place of worship.

Containment starts with you. Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It’s fear, rumours and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity,” said Tedros.

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WHO issues ‘wakeup call’ raising coronavirus threat to ‘highest level’

He said, “This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready”.

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United Nations, Feb 29 : The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised coronavirus threat to the “highest level” in a “wakeup” call to governments amid reports that the disease has spread to 48 countries.

WHO Executive Director of health emergencies, Mike Ryan, said on Friday, “We are on the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact”.

Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, he said that it was a “reality check” and a wakeup call to all governments to get ready to face the threat.

He said, “This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready”.

At the UN, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres added a note of caution, “This not a time for panic – it is time to be prepared – fully prepared”.

“We know containment is possible, but the window of opportunity is narrowing”, he said and called on “all governments to step up and do everything possible to contain the disease – and to do so without stigmatisation, respecting human rights”.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Geneva that the disease should be approached with urgency, but without panic.

“Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It’s fear, rumours and stigma”, he said.

He said that WHO had not declared a Coronavirus pandemic because there was no evidence ” as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities”.

There has, however, been one case in the United States of a person who had no known contact with anyone suffering from the disease and had not travelled to countries hit by it coming down with coronavirus.

Tedros said that as of Friday morning the disease had spread beyond China to 48 countries, afflicting 4,351 people and causing 67 deaths.

The outbreaks in four European countries and Nigeria have been traced to Italy, he said.

While coronavirus could become a pandemic, Tedros said that “with the right measures, it can be contained”.

Ryan said that for it to become a pandemic every person the planet will have to be exposed to it and that is not backed by data now.

He said that China has shown that it can be prevented if actions are taken quickly.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected])

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Want to live longer? Eat less

For the findings, the research team compared rats who ate 30 per cent fewer calories with rats on normal diets.

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New York, Feb 28 : If you want to live longer, reduce levels of inflammation throughout your body and delay the onset of age-related diseases — eat less food, say researchers.

According to a study, published in the journal Cell, researchers from the US and China provided the most detailed report of the cellular effects of a calorie-restricted diet in rats.

While the benefits of caloric restriction have long been known, the new results show how this restriction can protect against aging in cellular pathways.

“We already knew that calorie restriction increases life span, but now we’ve shown all the changes that occur at a single-cell level to cause that,” said study senior author Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte from the Salk Institute in the US

“This gives us targets that we may eventually be able to act on with drugs to treat aging in humans,” Belmonte added.

For the findings, the research team compared rats who ate 30 per cent fewer calories with rats on normal diets.

The diet of animals in the age group of 18-27 months was controlled. (In humans, this would be roughly equivalent to someone following a calorie-restricted diet from the age of 50 to 70.)

The research team isolated and analysed a total of 168,703 cells from 40 cell types in the 56 rats from starting as well as during the conclusion of the diet. The cells came from fat tissues, liver, kidney, aorta, skin, bone marrow, brain and muscle.

In each isolated cell, the researchers used single-cell genetic-sequencing technology to measure the activity levels of genes.

They also looked at the overall composition of cell types within any given tissue. Then, they compared old and young mice on each diet.

Many of the changes that occurred as rats on the normal diet grew older didn’t occur in rats on a restricted diet; even in old age, many of the tissues and cells of animals on the diet closely resembled those of young rats.

Overall, 57 per cent of the age-related changes in cell composition seen in the tissues of rats on a normal diet were not present in the rats on the calorie restricted diet, the study said.

“This approach not only told us the effect of calorie restriction on these cell types, but also provided the most complete and detailed study of what happens at a single-cell level during aging,” said study researcher Guang-Hui Liu from Chinese Academy of Sciences in China.

According to the study, some of the cells and genes most affected by the diet related to immunity, inflammation and lipid metabolism.

The number of immune cells in nearly every tissue studied dramatically increased as control rats aged but was not affected by age in rats with restricted calories.

In brown adipose tissue–one type of fat tissue–a calorie-restricted diet reverted the expression levels of many anti-inflammatory genes to those seen in young animals, the research said.

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