Nomination puts focus on Type 1 diabetes
The choice of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court has put a spotlight on Type 1 diabetes, which she has lived with for more than 45 years. The illness, which causes abnormally high levels of blood sugar, should not interfere with Sotomayor's ability to do her job, according to the American Diabetes Association. The White House Tuesday said her diabetes had been under control for decades through insulin injections and careful monitoring. Dr. R. Paul Robertson, an endocrinologist at the University of Washington and the diabetes association's president for medicine and science, said that given the seriousness of the disease, the public had a right to know how the judge was controlling her diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes, because it often starts in childhood, as Sotomayor's did when she was 8. It affects as many as 3 million Americans, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, infections, amputations and blindness. On average, the disease shortens lifespan by 7 to 10 years, according to the JDRF. Robertson said the best way to minimize complications is to keep blood sugar under control. The more common Type 2 diabetes has been on the rise along with the nation's obesity epidemic.
Down's syndrome has tumor blocker
People with Down's syndrome have a very low risk of getting tumors, and new research from Children's Hospital in Boston sheds light on why. The extra chromosome creates a third helping of a tumor blocker that keeps blood away from budding cancers. The finding could lead to new treatments for anyone with cancer, said researcher Sandra Ryeom of the Children's Hospital Vascular Biology Program. By examining cells from people with Down's and reproducing cancer conditions in mice, Ryeom and colleagues showed a specific gene in three copies makes more of the tumor blocker than only two copies of the gene. The excess tumor blocker, DSCR1, stops blood vessels from forming; without nutrients and oxygen from blood, tumors can't grow. Next, Ryeom said, is to see how the extra amount of DSCR1 works in people with cancer.
Obesity, allergies link being studied
Reducing childhood obesity may have yet another benefit: lowering the incidence of food allergies. Researchers studying more than 4,000 children ages 2 to 19 enrolled in a larger survey of childhood health found a significant association of overweight and obesity with allergic reactions to eggs, peanuts and other common allergens. For example, overweight and obese children were more than 50 percent more likely than those of normal weight to be allergic to milk. Overall, the obese and overweight children were about 25 percent more likely to have one or more food allergies. The scientists also found an association between being overweight and levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, which suggests that systemic inflammation may also play a role in the development of allergies. The study was published in the May issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.