Research Seminar Series in Sport Sciences, Malmö University | 12 October 2015: “Type 2 diabetes: a dual disease that is both inherited and achieved” | Jenny Wikman

The venue for this seminar is Orkanen, Nordenskiöldsgatan 10, room E121c, on Monday, October 12, 15:15–17:00. The seminar will be in English.

Type 2 diabetes:
A dual disease that is both inherited and achieved

Jenny Vikman

We are today healthier in many aspects and live longer than our ancestors during the Paleolithic era. Whereas changes in lifestyle and behavior occur with stunning speed, we are physiologically in many respects the same as our ancestors. This discrepancy brings on diseases that could be referred to as lifestyle diseases.

World Health Organisation (WHO) states that noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and chronic respiratory diseases are accountable for over 30 million deaths every year, the great majority in low- and middle income countries. In light of the socioeconomic and individual burden that NCDs cause it is important to work with preventive measures as well as developing new and more effective treatments.

In type 2 diabetes your body cannot use insulin properly, this is called insulin resistance. At first the pancreas responds by producing more insulin but as the disease progresses the ability of the pancreas to compensate declines.

An often debated question in Type 2 diabetes research is nature versus nurture: which has the biggest influence on the development of the disease, our genes or our lifestyles? Most researchers today can agree that they are both to blame.

As we learn more about our genes and physiology, we realize that there is no treatment that fits all. Since Type 2 diabetes has many complications and is often followed by other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, it is important to find effective treatments. This requires a comprehensive knowledge about the human physiology and what mechanisms that are involved when we develop the disease.

Pregnancy alters the normal balance that regulates glucose metabolism and insulin secretion, which results in an increased insulin resistance in fat that in many respects mimics the metabolic syndrome. Although these changes occur during a relatively short period, the islets of Langerhans, where the insulin producing cells are situated, are able respond with a compensatory increase in insulin production and secretion. The mechanisms that underlie the adaptation have only been investigated to a small extent.

Since pregnancy induces such marked change in the islets that could compensate for the increased demand it would be of great benefit to survey these changes.



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