Diabetes Research and Studies
Throughout the world, researchers are studying ways to treat diabetes effectively, learning more about the causes, and trying to find a cure for the disease. Studies include development of an "artificial pancreas" for patients with type 1 diabetes.
This device would check the patient's blood sugar levels and administer the appropriate amount of insulin automatically. Children and adults with type 1 diabetes would no longer need to calculate how much insulin they need based on food and exercise. More research is needed, but scientists are optimistic that this device might make life easier for people who have diabetes.
In other studies, researchers are looking at low blood sugar that occurs overnight (called nocturnal hypoglycemia). Physicians usually advise children with diabetes to have a bedtime snack, but researchers want to find out what type of snack is best and are studying how different snacks (e.g., potato chips, honey wheat pretzels) affect blood sugar overnight.
Researchers also are exploring the role of environmental factors that might "trigger" diabetes in children who have a genetic risk for the disease and are trying to determine why some children who are considered to be at high risk do not develop diabetes. In addition, new medications to treat diabetes are being tested. Scientists are hoping that the drug abatacept will help protect insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas that have been destroyed by the immune system in patients with type 1 diabetes.