Health Watch - Diabetes: The Brain and Hormones

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about research into diabetes. Previously, we discussed research into a substance injected into the brain that could help regulate insulin levels. Other research has found another link between the brain and diabetes.

Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that the hormones leptin and insulin work together in the brain to regulate insulin in the body. A particular group of brain cells appears to regulate glucose and insulin, and this works independently of food intake or body weight.

Dr. Joel Elmquist, the UT Southwestern researcher who led the study, says the research shows that type 2 diabetes isn’t only caused by obesity, and you don’t have to be obese to develop diabetes. If the receptors for both leptin and insulin aren’t working, then diabetes will develop. If the receptors for one of these hormones don’t work, the other seems able to compensate. The researchers now want to find out how these brain cells affect glucose production in the liver.

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May 2010


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