Clinical Research

Type 2 diabetes, which is blamed for over three million deaths each year, is on the increase and various food pundits and politicians say they can cure it if people would just ban trans fats or sodas or whatever they happen to be against this year.

And then there is genetics. There are genetic variants that have been associated with it but why wouldn't they have been eliminated by natural selection? Obviously if they had some other value but it has been shown that genetic regions associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes were unlikely to have been beneficial to people at stages through human evolution.


Because caffeine is a mild diuretic, there is a common assumption that caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, also have this effect.

The problem is that a kernel of scientific knowledge can be misconstrued in news outlets. As we discussed on Thanksgiving, everything in a Thanksgiving dinner contains chemicals found by someone somewhere to be a carcinogen in rats and could therefore be banned if they did not occur naturally. 


It's well established that as people's waistlines increase, so does the chance for the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Scientists from Denmark have found that in mice, macrophages, a specific type of immune cell, invade the diabetic pancreatic tissue during the early stages of the disease then these inflammatory cells produce a large amount of pro-inflammatory proteins - cytokines - which directly contribute to the elimination of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, resulting in diabetes. 


A systematic review of 66 research papers focused on the treatment of skin ulcers suggests that most are so technically flawed that their results are unreliable, and even of those that aren't flawed only weak evidence that alternative treatments work better than standard compression therapy or special stockings. 


Cranky old people might think that mellow crooning is less damaging to the voice than beatboxing, with its harsh, high-energy percussive sounds.

Not so, according to a paper in the Journal of Voice.  Beatboxing may be harder on the ears, that is why Michael Bublé gets more downloads than Killa Kela, but it may actually be gentler on vocal cords, which are already injury-prone. His findings were published Dec. 23 online in the Journal of Voice.


Determining how proteins misfold to create the tissue-damaging structures that lead to type 2 diabetes is complicated. These amyloid fibrils are also implicated in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and in prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jacob and mad cow disease.   


A paper in the International Journal of Obesity has found that even weight loss can be discriminatory;  African-American women may need to eat less or exercise more than European-American women to lose the same amount of weight.

Some studies have suggested that women of color don't lose as much weight as white women even in response to the same behavioral interventions of calorie restriction or increased physical activity. 


Each year, someone writes a book scaring people about food and that gets covered in the New York Times and then a whole rash of junk science studies get produced affirming exactly what the book said. This has been  a tradition since the 1960s, when Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, a book of anecdotes and scary claims about how someone she heard of sprayed DDT in her cellar and died, surrounded by science jargon about carcinogens.


A new technique will significantly decrease pain for children following high-risk urology surgeries, according to a paper in the Journal of Pediatric Urology.

The research team evaluated continuous infusion of local anesthesia using the ON-Q pain relief system to improve pain control in children undergoing urological procedures. While the ON-Q system is well-established as an effective pain management technique for adults, this is the first study that evaluates its pain management effectiveness in children.


Approximately 1 in 88 children are diagnosed as being somewhere on the autism spectrum. One hypothesis about autism is that a hyperactive immune system results in elevated levels of inflammation and may contribute to the disorder. Approximately one third of those on the autism spectrum, slightly above placebo levels, show a clinical improvement in symptoms in response to a fever.