Type 2 diabetes and autism share common underlying mechanism
This study has found a link between Type 2 diabetes and autism, both have a common underlying mechanism - impaired glucose tolerance and hyperinsulinemia. The study mentions animal testing in passing.
Hyperinsulinemia, often a precursor to insulin resistance, is a condition characterised by excess levels of insulin in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance is often associated with both obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Michael Stern specialises in investigating the genetic interactions associated with genetic diseases like neurofibromatosis, a disorder in which patients are several times more likely to be afflicted with autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) like Asperger's syndrome.
Autism and ASD are neurological disorders that have a strong but poorly understood genetic basis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about nine out of 1,000 U.S. children are diagnosed with ASD.
Michael Stern said at least four genes associated with increased frequency in autism are known to produce proteins that play key roles in a biochemical pathway known as PI3K/Tor. Stern said he had been studying a form of abnormal function in the synapses of fruit flies that was remarkably similar to abnormalities observed in rats and mice with defects in a different pathway known as mGluR-mediated long-term depression.
From his studies in both areas, Stern knew two things: PI3K/Tor was the major pathway for insulin signals within cells, and insulin could affect synapses in a remarkably similar way to the mGluR defects associated with autism.
Stern said he changed his mind a few months ago when a health care consulting firm asked him to provide input about autism.
This also shows that glucose tolerance in pregnant women may need to be addressed more seriously than it is now. In writing the article, Stern said he learned that the role of insulin in cognitive function is becoming more widely accepted.
This is what it's all about, making the connection. This is an outstanding piece of research. One of the major problems in academia now is there are literally thousands of academic journals (in 2006 there were 23,750) and areas are becoming so specialised that experts in one field have literally next to no understanding of other fields, even if they wanted to they couldn't keep up with everything, therefore they can't make connections like this.
That is what I perceive as the strength of Leibowitz's Candle. We report everything, on every subject, we try and link everything together. We're also totally free. In time, it should make finding connections like this almost intuitive. I'm also installing Semantic Mediawiki, well it's installed, but I'm still figuring it out/setting it up, this will allow natural language queries and should help with finding information.
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