Precision medicine + diabetes

Time to break down diabetes into more subtypes than the amount of Wilford Brimley parodies there are on YouTube. Ok that might be an exaggeration because there are a TON, but Swedish & Finnish researchers are making an argument that we should probably have more than just the current two subtypes. They propose keeping Type 1 as its own thing, but expanding Type 2 into four clusters that are more descriptive of their causes. The basic breakdown is: Cluster 1, severe autoimmune (the former Type 1;) Cluster 2, severe insulin-deficiency; Cluster 3, severe insulin-resistant; Cluster 4, mild obesity-related; and Cluster 5, mild age-related. According to researcher Leif Groop, this is “a real step towards precision medicine. In the ideal scenario, this is applied at diagnosis and we target treatment better.” Increasingly patient-centric approaches will always get a thumbs-up from us.

Who keeps messing with the thermostat?!

There is new research on a method to combat diabetes and obesity, and you won’t need a pharmacy card or a gym membership to give it a try—just permission to mess with the bottom line of the utility bill. A new study, “Healthy Excursions Outside the Thermal Comfort Zone,” shows that dropping your building’s temperature below the comfort zone (21-22 °C; 69.8-71.6 °F for you Americans) can increase metabolism and energy expenditure. Mild cold, specifically, can increase glucose metabolism and was shown to increase insulin sensitivity by 40% in patients with Type 2 diabetes over a 10-day period. “This is comparable with the best available pharmaceutical or physical activity therapies,” according to the study. So…go adjust your coworker’s thermostat. They can thank you later.

Apple’s top secret plan for diabetes

A secret team at Apple, made up of around 30 tech and biomedical experts, is working on a program that would use the Apple Watch as a sensor “that can noninvasively and continuously monitor blood sugar levels to better treat diabetes,” according to three bean-spillers close to the project. This was envisioned by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs prior to his death. The project has been ongoing for at least five years, and is reportedly run now by Apple’s SVP of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji. How would something like this work? Good question. According to a CNBC article, the program would “[shine] a light through the skin to measure indications of glucose.” It’s like something Q would create – for a diabetic 007.

5. Sanofi, a very forgiving bunch

Remember a couple of years ago when Sanofi partnered with MannKind because they believed Afrezza, MannKind’s inhaled insulin product, would capture diabetes patients who hate injections? And remember when Sanofi paid MannKind $150m up front and loaned them an additional $175m? Well, the sales didn’t materialize and Sanofi would like to pretend it never happened. So much so, in fact, they’re willing to forgive the balance of the loan—over $70m! I wonder if Sanofi needs a good news/blog writer? Then Sanofi could break up with the writer and then pay off the writer’s mortgage or something. Shares for MannKind were trading up at the time of this article. But then again, so would mine. Just sayin’.