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Diabetes Still Isn't Easy
Diabetes Still Isn't Easy

FDI is dedicated to diabetes education, nutritional counseling, and wellness programming.

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What was hot at the American Diabetes Meeting last week? First all, the things that have been under study are progressing. This includes new medications, new insulins, new meters, immunology etc. For me, what was striking was the number of sessions on exercise and its value in controlling blood glucose. Some of it was clinical and practical but the real winner was the identification of a protein called IRISIN. It was named after the greek god Iris who was the messenger between the home of the gods and earth. Irisin is produced in the muscles and does a few wonderful things.

We have two kinds of fat in the body. White or yellow fat is storage. Brown fat is not storage but contains an energy control system. Irisin production increases with exercise, especially resistance, and stimulates the energy mechanism to release heat. In addition, Irisin stimulates the same molecules that rosi-and pioglitazone do but without the side effects. The net result is increased insulin sensitivity, reduced dosage and weight loss.

This is an unfinished story. The final interesting fact is that the “brown fat” can turn into muscle under the right circumstances. This may be very important in aging when muscles normally atrophy, contributing to weakness and falling.

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About the Author


Dr. Bernstein is director of the diabetes management program at the Friedman Diabetes Institute.