New research suggests that people who use marijuana may be more likely to develop prediabetes than those who have never smoked the substance.
A paper published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) assesses a sample of 3,000 people across the United States.
And the findings of the study were that adults currently using marijuana work 65 per cent more likely to suffer from the form of poor sugar control that can lead to Type II diabetes.
Those involved in the study who no longer smoked cannabis, but had used it 100 times or more in their lifetime, also have a significantly higher chance of developing their condition.
This was found to be around 50 per cent greater than those who have never consumed marijuana in any form.
The study ultimately found that “marijuana use was associated with the development and prevalence of prediabetes after adjustment. Specifically, occurrence of prediabetes in middle adulthood was significantly elevated for individuals who reported using marijuana in excess of 100 times by young adulthood.”
However, although there was a high incidence of prediabetes indicated by the study, the research failed to establish a direct link between Type 2 diabetes and marijuana usage.
The authors, led by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s Mike Bancks, said: “It is unclear how marijuana use could place an individual at increased risk for prediabetes yet not diabetes.”
Thus, some confusion still reigns over the result of the study.
Data was gleaned from a group of more than 3,000 US citizens, all of whom are collectively participating in a study called the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.
Each of these individuals were aged between 18 and 30 when they were recruited in 1985-86, and have now been participating for 30 years straight.
The percentage of those reporting use of marijuana among the group has declined significantly over the decades in which they have been involved in this huge piece of research.
Although there seems to be little understanding regarding how marijuana could be linked with prediabetes and not tied to diabetes, authors of the paper did at least suggest some possible reasons for this.
The paper proposes that the lack of a link to type 2 diabetes could be because individuals excluded from the study had higher levels of marijuana use and greater potential for development of diabetes.
Additionally, it is possible that marijuana usage may have a larger affect on blood-sugar control in the prediabetic range than for full, type 2 diabetes.
3.2 million UK adults have been diagnosed as being diabetic, with this figure expected to increase to 5 million by 2025.
But Europe’s EMCDDA drug agency suggested in its annual report on drug use in the continent, published in June 2015, that cannabis use among 15 to 34 year olds has halved in the UK over the last 15 years.
It is thought that this could be due to smoking-related legislation.
A team of researchers in Ohio is currently attempting to develop a so-called wonder drug that tackles both Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes.
These conditions are known for sharing two destructive proteins that play a key role in the conditions and their development.
Clinical research being carried out at the University of Akron has raised expectation that a cure for the conditions could kill both birds with one stone in the foreseeable future.
With federal funding to the order of £200,000, this critical study could have global implications.
The US National Science Foundation has backed the researchers to produce an antidote to these two conditions, and the potential of a cure is certainly an exciting prospect for medicine and public health across the planet.
Recent years have seen a diabetes epidemic across the Western world in particular, with excessive added sugar in process food considered a major factor in this worrying trend.
The Daily Health Bulletin reported in March, 2011 that 280 million people worldwide (approximately 6.5 per cent of the world’s population) is diabetic.
Just months later, a study in The Lancet demonstrated that the number of adults with Type 2 diabetes has more than doubled in the last thirty years, soaring to almost 10 per cent of the world population.
And the burden on the National Health Service is also extremely well documented.
Official figures indicate that diabetes costs the NHS £1 million every hour. This amounts to a figure of over £8 billion per annum.
However, scientists working on the drug have noted that the majority of Alzheimer’s patients possess either Type II diabetes, or else are glucose intolerant.
Studies have indicated that diabetes sufferers aged 60 and over are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as normally adjusted individuals.
And it is believed that a chemical interaction between two destructive proteins present in both conditions plays a key role in their development, leading researchers to assert that treating them simultaneously should be feasible.
The search for one of medicine’s most valuable secrets is being led by American scientist Dr Jie Zheng.
The experienced expert in chemical and biochemical engineering believes that it will indeed be possible to treat both conditions with a solitary tablet, and that this drug could emerge by 2025.
Both Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes are caused by peptide aggregates, and feature extremely similar biological and structural functions.
An abnormal accumulation of Abeta peptides is linked to Alzheimer’s, while an abnormal accumulation of human islet amyloid polypeptide or hIAPP is linked to Type 2 diabetes.
The research is particularly building on previous studies that have suggested that animals fed a diet which would leave them vulnerable to diabetes can result in their brains being crippled with insoluble protein plaques; one of the features of Alzheimer’s.
New diabetes guidance issued by the charity NICE has been welcomed by Diabetes UK.
The advice is aimed at children and young people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and emerges over a decades after the last set of specific guidelines were published by the charity.
NICE has placed particular emphasis on tighter blood glucose targets, and these can only be achieved with appropriate support being put in place, at least in the opinion of the charity.
The long-term target for blood glucose levels has traditionally been set at 58mmols/mol (7.5 per cent), but NICE has now reduced this advisable level significantly.
New guidance published by the charity suggests that in order to avoid long-term risk of developing diabetes, young people should maintain a blood glucose level beneath 48 mmols/mol (6.5 per cent).
Research indicates that tighter control over blood glucose will reduce the risk of developing serious diabetes-related complications such as blindness, amputation and strokes. And the new glucose guidelines will be of significant value in ensuring young people avoid these debilitating conditions in later life.
But the charity has warned that the conduct of the government over the next few years will be vital to implementing its strategy effectively.
NICR has particularly underlined the need for clinics to be armed with satisfactory tools to provide support to young patients and their families.
Speaking on the new guidelines, Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, was keen to emphasise that support was key to adhering to the vision of the charity: “Meeting the new blood glucose targets can bring about inherent health benefits. However, the government needs to ensure that appropriate support is available to help children and their families to achieve this.
“While the technology, such as pumps and increased access to continuous blood glucose monitors, is available to support children with Type 1 diabetes reach blood glucose targets, it is critical that they receive the emotional support, such as improved access to specialist psychological care, they and their families need to feel empowered to achieve these new targets.
Young also pointed out the current failures of diabetes-related policy: “We know that the majority of children with Type 1 diabetes already struggle to achieve current blood glucose targets with the most recent figures revealing that less than one in five manage this.”
The Western world has experienced something of a diabetes epidemic in recent years, with increased sugar consumption and sedentary lifestyles considered to be two key factors in the phenomenon.
Just weeks ago, an NHS report indicates that a lack of physical activity is leading to a new “sofa generation” at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
It is already estimated that based on current trends, 5 million Britons will have Type 2 diabetes alone by 2025.
An innovative project – entitled ‘My Diabetes My Way’ – which allows people with diabetes electronic access to their medical records has been recognised with a top UK award.
Led by the University of Dundee in partnership with NHS Scotland, the project has been named winner of the Education and Self-Management Award at the 2015 Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference.
The project offers people with diabetes anywhere in Scotland online access to their medical records, explaining the clinical measurements that are presented; the personalised and tailored information also helps people understand and take control of their condition.
The project fought off fierce competition from five other shortlisted candidates from across the UK to win the award.
“This is fantastic recognition for the work of the ‘My Diabetes My Way’ team over the last few years”, said Dr Scott Cunningham, the project’s technical lead based at the University of Dundee. “We hope this leads to greater awareness of the service to ensure that anyone with an interest in accessing their records online hears about it and signs up. The project is a strong example of the ways in which we can engage with patients and help transform the care and the quality of information they receive.”