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The longstanding link between obesity and type-2 diabetes has been examined by a European research team that claims to have discovered the molecule responsible for promoting insulin resistance in fatty tissue.
According to the study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, levels of a molecule called CXCL5, which is produced by certain fatty tissue cells, are much higher in the tissues of obese people than in those with normal weight.
After identifying the molecule, researchers were able to develop an experimental treatment which successfully inhibited the action of CXCL5 in mice, helping to prevent the development of type-2 diabetes in the animals.
"If these studies can be confirmed in humans, this treatment would represent a fundamental improvement in the quality of life of obese individuals," said Lluis Fajas, the study's lead author and a researcher at the Institute of Health and Medical Research in France.
Health campaign promotes diabetes awareness, testing
While diabetes accounts for more deaths in the U.S. than breast cancer and AIDS combined, few Americans know of the prevalence and risks associated with the disease, according to new research.
A survey administered by the American Diabetes Association revealed that only 42 percent of those surveyed knew that diabetes could be deadly; more than two-thirds wrongly believed too much sugar causes the condition and more than half incorrectly said that type-2 diabetes was inevitable for the overweight or obese, HealthDay News reports.
Sue McLaughlin, president of healthCare and education for the association has begun the Stop Diabetes campaign to involve more people in fighting the condition through education and diagnostic testing.
The health expert told the news source that sugar and diet are not at all factors in type-1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease, and genetic factors, in addition to obesity, contribute to the onset of type-2 diabetes.
"There's a real lack of awareness of the seriousness of the disease," McLaughlin concluded. One diabetes patient, Malika Bey of Pittsburgh, said that even the absence of diet sodas at parties can make the disease more difficult and may feel like a lack of support.
Doctors at the American Diabetes Association recommend a fasting plasma glucose test or a casual plasma glucose test for diabetes screening.
Health officials call for investment in diabetes testing
Officials at the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) assert that developing diagnostic testing and treatments for diabetes has become an economic concern, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
According to reports, more than 80 percent of the world's spending on diabetes occurs within the planet's richest countries, while only 30 percent of people with diabetes live in those nations.
The agency has predicted that in 2010, diabetes will cost the world economy more than $376 billion - 11.6 percent of the total world healthcare expenditures. IDF further forecasts costs exceeding $490 billion by 2030.
"The world needs to invest in integrated health systems that can diagnose, treat, manage and prevent diabetes," said Professor Nigel Unwin, IDF Diabetes Atlas research leader. He warns that if governments fail to promote preventative practices outside the formal health sector, "diabetes will overwhelm health systems and hinder economic growth.
According to the IDF more than 190 million people worldwide currently have diabetes. The organization expects this number to rise to about 330 million by 2025, due to population growth, increased urbanization and sedentary lifestyles - which are among the main risk factors for type-2 diabetes, along with obesity.
The IDF claims that obesity can reduce the life expectancy of people with type-2 diabetes by up to eight years. About 80 percent of those diagnosed with the insulin resistance disorder are overweight at the time of their diagnosis.
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