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Hormone found to be more effective than insulin in controlling blood sugar

Category: Diabetes

At-risk seniors who are going through diabetes testing might be interested in a new study that suggests there may be a more heart-friendly way to control blood sugar.

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have found that leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that is associated with weight loss, was able to lower blood sugar in mice as well as insulin did, but without an increase in cholesterol.

While there is no guarantee that the hormone treatment will work in humans, the researchers hope that the findings could lead to improved therapy options for type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes.

In the study, the team administered leptin, insulin or both to mice predisposed to type 1 diabetes. They found that subjects treated with leptin alone or in conjunction with insulin fared better, as their blood sugar didn't fluctuate as much and they didn't form as much body fat compared to mice treated with the traditional therapy, according to Health Day News.

Although the hormone could never replace insulin, the researchers believe that it could help diabetic patients control their blood sugar.

"They would have a longer life as well as a less burdensome one," said Roger Unger, chairman of diabetes research at the university. "That's the best possible scenario that we could hope for."

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