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The genes in humans that regulate the body's so-called internal clock also function to regulate the amount of insulin in the body, according to new research.
A study published in the September 17 edition of Cell described the surprising revelation that components of the body's insulin-control system can reset the body's clock, just as monitoring circadian rhythms can help treat insulin deficiencies. According to the scientists, this finding his consistent with research that suggested mice with malfunctioning internal clocks developed diabetes.
The researchers say that this study will be valuable when investigating approaches to treating disorders like metabolic syndrome that can result from disruption of the sleep-wake cycle.
Steve Kay, dean of the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of California San Diego stated, "People knew that the clock regulates many different processes, but what they didn't realize was that when you tweak the processes, it feeds back and alters the clock." He added, "Understanding this close relationship between circadian regulation and metabolic homeostasis should provide novel ways of indentifying new therapies for metabolic disease."
The American Diabetes Association estimates that 21 million children and adults in the United States, or 7 percent of the population, have diabetes today. Doctors recommend a fasting plasma glucose test or a casual plasma glucose test for diabetes screening.
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