Researchers have worked out how to use electromagnetic fields to treat mice with type 2 diabetes.
Scientists have discovered that they can successfully treat type 2 diabetes in mouse models by exposing the rodents to electromagnetic fields.
The research, which appears in the journal Cell Metabolism, opens the door to further studies confirming the findings and exploring whether the therapy could be suitable for use in humans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34 million people — approximately 1 in 10 — in the United States have diabetes. Of these individuals, the vast majority have type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when a person’s cells do not react to the hormone insulin properly. Insulin, which the pancreas produces, mediates the ability of a person’s cells to receive blood sugar.
In this situation, a person’s body can tell that their cells are not receiving blood sugar properly, and the pancreas produces more insulin in response. At a certain point, the pancreas cannot meet the insulin demand, and, as a consequence, blood sugar levels increase.
The CDC highlight that high blood sugar levels can cause various serious health conditions, including vision loss, kidney disease, and heart disease.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, key approaches to treating type 2 diabetes include eating a more healthful diet and being more physically active.
There are also many medications that can help a person manage the symptoms of diabetes.
However, adherence to type 2 diabetes treatment is relatively low. Research has suggested that at least 45% of people with type 2 diabetes are unable to control their blood sugar levels effectively.
A range of factors may contribute to a person’s ability to keep diabetes symptoms in check, including the perceived difficulties around accessing and taking medications.
In this context, the scientists behind the present study believe that they may have made a significant discovery in the form of an effective and accessible way of treating mice with type 2 diabetes using electromagnetic fields.
The discovery came about by chance. Sunny Huang, an M.D.-Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa (UI) Carver College of Medicine and the co-lead author of the study, needed access to mice to practice taking their blood and measuring their blood sugar levels.
Dr. Calvin Carter, a postdoctoral researcher in the same lab, let Huang borrow the mice that he was using in an experiment on how electromagnetic fields affect the brains of the animals.
According to Huang: “It was really odd because normally these animals have high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes, but all of the animals exposed to [electromagnetic fields] showed normal blood sugar levels. I told Calvin, ‘There’s something weird going on here.’”
This was especially unusual given that the researchers had either genetically modified the mice in question to give them diabetes or induced the disease by feeding them a 60% high fat diet.
“That’s what sparked this project,” Dr. Carter adds. “Early