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Scientist explains areas of progress to group

LISTOWEL - A scientist spoke here last month at the Diabetes meeting of the North Perth - North Wellington Branch of the Canadian Dia­betes Association .

Area diabetes committee chairman George Van Ankum welcomed 50 members and guests to the information meeting at the Knox Presby­terian Church.

Team Captain Grace Van Donkersgoed urged everyone to give canvassing a try this November as neighbours would be standing ready at the door with their wallets open to make a donation to fund a cure for diabetes. There are always a faithful few, but there is always room for more volunteers to can­vass a street, a block, an apartment building, a rural route.

She encouraged everyone to keep smiling and keep up the fight for a cure.

Guest speaker Dr. Daniel Hardy is a scientist and assis­tant professor at the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, where he continues his studies in endocrine-related research with special attention to fetal origins of adult onset diseases.

He believes when people like what they do, enthusiasm can take them anywhere. He was pleased to see so many people at the meeting with special mention to his father, Jim, and an aunt and cousin from Clinton who were eager to hear his presentation on Extending Banting’s Legacy - the latest discoveries in the prevention and treatment of Diabetes from a local, national, and international perspective.

Diabetes affects close to three million Canadians, ac­counts for 10% of health care costs, and has the ability to re­duce lifespan by 13 years. Genetics, in combination with viruses, diet, and stress all play a part in the progression of Type I diabetes.

With respect to the development of Type II dia­betes, birth weight data from 1877 to 1953 indicates that low­er weight babies are more likely to develop Type II diabetes and cardiovascular dis­ease.

The possibility of treating babies before or immediately after birth could be the answer, and studies do show that breast milk is better for low birth weight babies long-term.

Obese children have enor­mous health risks and studies are now aimed to address that risk group and prevent them from becoming Type II diabetic patients. To date, studies are underway to address how in­terventions with diet, exercise, or medication can reduce obesity and glucose tolerance in those pre-diabetic patients. The outcome - their Body Mass Index (BMI) decreased with exercise and medication.

Insulin was first discovered in London by Sir Frederick Banting. Today, current control therapies include short acting and long acting insulins, inhal­ed insulin, continuous glucose monitors, linkage to insulin pumps, and GLP-1 analogs (Exenatide). Knowledge about those therapies is important to the success of reaching blood glucose targets.

Aside from controlling dia­betes, research is now focused on reversing the effects of diabetes in patients. That in­cludes islet transplantation first initiated in Alberta as the Ed­monton Protocol. To maintain transplantations, it is important people do not neglect to sign their donor cards as the im­portant insulin-producing beta cells are harvested from the pancreas of donors and trans­planted into the livers of live patients.

Results have been opti­mis­tic, although anti-rejection drugs are needed long-term.

Stem cell research is still controversial although it ap­pears promising and could help to correct genetic disorders at birth. While most research ini­ti­atives are in animal models and have not yet reached the human stage, major discoveries on the forefront of patents are recognized throughout the world.

  Dr. Hardy praised program convenor Alice Van Ankum for helping promote awareness in the field of research by inviting a scientist to the meeting.

He noted the annual canvass provides thousands of dollars for research, and that per capita, the North Perth - North Wellington Branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) has one of the most successful fund-raising cam­paigns in Ontario.

He believes that some of the best research labs are in Canada and the investment from CDA funded research is enormous. To continue that, Dr. Hardy advocated talking to poli­ticians and assess their re­search goals.

Also, he said, vote wisely. He handed out a list of clinical research initiatives at the Uni­versity of Waterloo and the University of Western Ontario. Promoting the field of science is important to interest and train the next generation of re­searchers and develop our Canadian pride. Remember, “healthy living makes a diff­erence. Excellent drugs and pro­cedures will complete the job”.

The meeting was sponsored by the North Perth - North Wellington Branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association located at 94B Elora St. S. in Harriston. For further infor­mation, call 519-338-3181 or npnw@sentex.net.

 

Vol 43 Issue 40

 
 

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