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Diseases & Disorders

No More Injections, Diabetes Patients Can Now Take Insulin Pills Orally

MIT researchers create drug capsule that delivers oral doses of insulin into the stomach

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oral insulin pill
A drug capsule that could be used to deliver oral doses of insulin into the stomach. Photo Credit: Credit: Felice Frankel

In the nearest future, diabetes patients may no longer require insulin injections. They may only need to pop insulin pills orally. The oral doses of insulin may replace administration of injections for Type 2 diabetes patients. The way it is now, Type 2 diabetics must inject themselves with insulin every day to manage their blood sugar.

Insulin is a natural hormone secreted by the isles of Langerhans in the pancreas. It serves to regulate the amount of glucose stored in the liver, and also accelerates oxidation of sugar in the body cells. When the body is no longer able to produce insulin, or the body cells are not able to utilize the insulin produced in the body, it leads to diabetes. In that case, insulin must be introduced into the body via injections.

Oral Capsule Can Deliver the Same Amount of Insulin as Injections

However, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) together with the pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk, had developed a drug capsule that delivers oral insulin pills into the stomach. The capsule transports the drug which is in the form of a tiny needle composed of insulin to the bowel.

Demonstrations in animal models indicate that the needle-like insulin can be equal in dose to the one delivered by injection. Apart from delivering insulin directly to the stomach orally, the capsule can also be applied to delivering other protein drugs to the stomach.

Many years ago, some of the researchers had earlier created a pill that could position itself aright when swallowed. The pill was coated with several tiny needles that injected drugs into the wall of the stomach. However, the new pill has only one needle capable of shooting drugs to the lining of the small intestine where stomach acids will break them down to take effect.

Capsule Can Re-Orientate Itself into Proper Position Regardless of Stomach Environments

The tip of the needle contains 100% compressed, freeze-dried insulin – manufactured under the same process used for making tablet medications. Patients do not feel anything when the needle in the pill injects the drug into the wall of the stomach – because there are no pain receptors which enable people to feel pain in the stomach wall.

The researchers designed the drug capsule to automatically position itself aright in the stomach when swallowed. The way it positions itself will enable the needle to touch the stomach wall so that the drugs can be injected directly. Regardless of how the capsule lands or the tumultous environment of the stomach, the capsule will re-orient itself into the right position for effect.

“What’s important is that we have the needle in contact with the tissue when it is injected,” said first study author and MIT graduate student Alex Abramson. “Also, if a person were to move around or the stomach were to growl, the device would not move from its preferred orientation.”

Since Type 2 diabetes patients usually take about 5 milligrams of insulin injection, the oral pill is able to deliver the same amount of drug to the body. When the pill is delivered, the capsule gets disposed via the digestive system.

The Motivation Is To Replace Injectables with Oral Drugs

The MIT researchers intends for Novo Nordisk to develop and optimize the drug following clinical trials and approval. Immunosuppresants and nucleic acids which are usually injected could be delivered via oral capsules when the researchers complete and market their product.

“Our motivation is to make it easier for patients to take medication, particularly medications that require an injection,” said Giovanni Traverso, an assistant professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The classic one is insulin, but there are many others.”

The study was published in the journal Science and funded by –

  • Novo Nordisk
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Viking Olaf Bjork Research Scholarship, and the
  • MIT Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

 

Richard Owens studies Physiotherapy at the University of Leeds in the UK. He works as a physiotherapist in Los Angeles but writes on health topics in his spare time. Fortunately, his work has been featured in major magazines across the country. He loves to drive around the country when he is not seeing patients or writing.

Diseases & Disorders

WHO Releases 12 Risk Factors for Dementia and Guidelines for Tackling Them

WHO identifies risk factors for dementia and recommendations for prevention

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WHO gives recommendations for dementia
WHO gives recommendations for preventing dementia. Photo Credit: Geralt/Pixabay

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 12 risk factors for developing dementia and guidelines for preventing it. The WHO report is targeted at helping national governments, health policymakers and healthcare providers prevent the onset of dementia in people. As at today, it is estimated that about 50 million people around the world are suffering from dementia, with 5.8 million of them in the United States.

Dementia is a general term for neuro-degenerative conditions that affect an individual’s ability to think, remember or undertake daily routines. While it is usually associated with old age, dementia presents itself as a progressive decline in cognitive functions because of aging, brain damage or disease. Patients have problems related to memory, attention, judgment, language and problem-solving abilities.

Families and Caregivers Also Suffer From the Effects of Dementia on Patients

Health experts agree that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia – making up 50% to 70% of cases. An individual may suffer from several forms of dementia, and sometimes it could also run in families. Diagnosis is done by cognitive testing which includes medical imaging and blood tests, as well as evaluating the history of the patient’s illness.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for dementia but there are several identified risk factors.

The 12 risk factors published by WHO are –

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Alcohol
  • Impaired cognitive reserve
  • Low level of social life
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Dyslipidemia or high cholesterol levels
  • Depression
  • Hearing loss

While these risk factors have been found to increase the chances of developing dementia, scientists are not exactly sure of what causes the brain disease. All they know is that it is related to old age. The patient is not the only one affected by dementia, family members and caregivers also suffer from caring for the patient. This goes to prove that the lives of dementia patients and their families are changed by the disease.

“The goal of the action plan is to improve the lives of people with dementia, their carers and families, while decreasing the impact of dementia on them as well as on communities and countries,” the WHO report reads.

Number of People Suffering From Dementia May Triple In the Next 30 Years

Given that most of the risk factors for dementia advanced by WHO are lifestyle-related, health analysts say there is hope for prevention. With the new guidelines published by the international health body, people must learn to adopt healthier lifestyles to reduce the chances of developing dementia and other complicated health conditions.

Except people get proactive on their health as they advance in age, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that the number of people suffering from dementia may triple in the next 30 years.

“We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain,” Dr. Ghebreyesus said.

With adequate information, people can evaluate the risk factors for dementia and determine how they live their lives accordingly. Health experts stated that tackling the entire risk factors can prevent dementia and insure a better health. This is against the background that excessive alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet are linked to cognitive decline and other debilitating health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Public Health Approach Is Important For Dementia Management and Prevention

There is scanty medical evidence to prove that hearing aids, antidepressants and an active social life cut down the likelihood of dementia. But WHO insists they are nevertheless important for cognitive health and general wellbeing.

According to WHO, a public health approach is crucial to implementing key dementia interventions. This is largely because dementia can be prevented or delayed when cognitive health and lifestyle changes are geared towards positive wellbeing. WHO is all for positive global health experiences and frequently publishes recommendations aimed at improving global wellness.

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Diseases & Disorders

More U.S. States Begin to Enforce Measles Vaccinations through Legislation

Many U.S. states are taking away the rights of parents to exempt their kids from vaccination

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vaccination for measles and vaccine laws in Oregon
vaccination for measles and vaccine laws in Oregon. Photo Credit: WikiImages/Pixabay

More U.S. states are taking away the rights of parents to choose whether children could get measles vaccination. Parents can cite religious convictions and philosophical reasons as well as medical conditions to exempt their children from vaccinations. But this is no longer the case in four U.S. states with more states considering legislature to remove this constitutional right.

The damaging spread of measles across the United States has prompted federal and state governments to stem the tide with vaccines. But parents who do not want their children vaccinated can exempt them based on medical, religious and philosophical reasons.

This freedom is believed by many to contribute to the spread of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella in schools and local communities.

Going Forward, Vaccine Laws Will Revoke Non-Medical Vaccine Exemptions in Many States

Thousands of parents have taken to the streets to condemn vaccinations for their children – with some saying their children became gravely ill after being vaccinated. Many put up placards and chant solidarity songs to drive home their message that vaccination should not be enforced.

Many parents have their way and exempt their children from vaccination, but governments have been winning the battle in most cases by enforcing vaccination.

Jaclyn Gallian, an activist at a recent rally in Salem, Oregon, said the government is “selling our children to the pharmaceutical companies” by enforcing vaccination. She said the only thing left for dissenters to do is to provoke a revolution via street demonstrations and rallies.

Three states have already passed billed revoking the rights of parents to choose whether their children can be vaccinated. Oregon and more than 10 other states are already taking legislative steps to eliminate religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said over 700 cases of measles have been reported since January this year. New outbreaks continue to be seen in New York, Michigan and Oregon among others. Measles was reported eliminated in Oregon 25 years ago, but its recent resurgence as proven the worst in almost three decades.

Lawmakers Are Divided Over Vaccine Laws, Saying They Present a New Conversation

Under the coming legislation, parents in Oregon will either have to secure doctors’ approval for vaccine exemption or not send their children to school. Thousands of opponents are lobbying against the passage of the bill.

Colorado, Maine, New York and Washington among others are also working to tighten vaccine laws so that no one can be exempted except under strict medical conditions.

However, doctors and healthcare professionals in Oregon and a few other states are in full support of vaccination, standing behind proposed vaccine bills. They state that vaccines have proven effective at containing the spread of infectious diseases and protecting the population in the process.

Lawmakers are also divided over the issue. Some support that governments should not determine what goes into an individual’s body, and others say this might be necessary to protect the general populace.

“We don’t have many people in the current generation that have experienced polio or the mumps or rubella or the measles and so this is presenting a new conversation,” said Oregon freshman Rep. Cheri Helt. “But we can’t leave out what the diseases have done to the society and how many people’s lives the vaccines have saved.”

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Diseases & Disorders

Parents Cry Out After a Makeup Kit from Family Dollar Lands Daughter in Hospital

Applying this makeup to her eyes and lips made our worst nightmare come true.

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Lydia Cravens makeup allergy photo in hospital
Lydia Cravens makeup allergy photo in hospital (Photo credit: Tony Kylie Cravens via Facebook)

A Georgetown, Illinois, couple is distraught after a makeup kit purchased from the local Family Dollar store left their daughter hospitalized. Tony and Kylie Cravens say the makeup kit made their daughter Lydia to develop terrible rashes on her face.

Within a few hours of applying the makeup, Lydia also developed swollen eyes with blisters on her mouth, prompting her parents to rush her to the hospital.

She was hospitalized at the Carle Hospital in Champaign, Popsugar reported.

“In 24 hours our little girl went from 100 percent healthy to her eyes swollen and blistered shut with a rash all over her body that we needed to apply cold packs to every 30 minutes or so because her skin was burning,” Lydia’s mother, Kylie, said. “She was unable to eat much for days because of the blistering and cracking of her lips.”

Couple Issues Cautionary Advise On Social Media to Warn Other Parents

The couple said they had been buying makeup kits from the Family Dollar store before. But this time, they bought a different brand of the same product. It turned out toxic with as many as six chemicals known to cause allergic reactions.

“We never imagined after spending the day applying it to her eyes and lips that our worst nightmare would come true,” Kylie volunteered.

Lydia has now been discharged from the hospital, but her parents want everyone to know what they had passed through after using the makeup product. So they issued a warning on their Facebook account with subsequent updates on how the little girl is performing.

Lydia Is Now Recovered and Parents Thank Everyone for Their Supports

The ultimate objective of their warning is to let parents exercise caution when using cosmetic for children. And how cheap skincare products could cause skin conditions and allergic reactions.

In subsequent Facebook updates, the couple states that Lydia is much more improved. She is “still struggling with the hives but she is feeling better and better everyday,” they wrote.

“Lydia is doing great; we have had big improvements in the last 24 hours,” they added. “Still has some itching but the burning is gone. Hives are still on her face and neck but those too are starting to fade. SHE IS SMILING AGAIN.”

The couple posted new photos of Lydia to show the progress of her recovery. They also appreciated friends and family and everyone who had shown concern since their ordeal with the toxic makeup kit.

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