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June 29, 2000

Research: Cure

Question from Lancaster, Missouri, USA:

I am a 51 male nonsmoker with Type 2 diabetes, and I have two questions. What can be taken to stop lymphocytes from killing cells that produce insulin? What causes the dawn phenomenon?

Answer:

Stopping the progression of Type 1 diabetes will be worthy of a Nobel Prize in my opinion. That said, we really don’t have a good way as of now. We tried some anti-rejection drugs used in transplants. They work but you can’t take them for life. The DPT-1 study is evaluating ways to prevent diabetes. Some have shown a bit of success using insulin as an oral agent after diagnosis, but it’s not a great success.

The dawn phenomenon is defined as rising glucose in the early morning. Why?… to wake you up and give you energy. With diabetes, there isn’t enough insulin in the early morning on occasions and the glucose rises. Also other hormones such as growth hormone, cortisol, and others cause the glucose to rise. The trick is to take enough insulin to keep the glucose okay in the early morning but not too low in the middle of the night.

LD